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Teenager now 'feels ok talking' after knife crime incident made his mental health plummet

Children's mental health week

Stock image of young male (not "Tom")

A young boy was involved in a fight where a knife was unexpectedly drawn on him.

Tom, not his real name, was left in shock after the fight took a turn for the worst when his friend aggressively threatened him with the weapon.

Luckily others in the group calmed things down and nobody was physically hurt, but the 15-year-old was left with emotional scars.

In the aftermath of the incident, Tom’s family members noticed that he wasn’t interacting with others as much and that he seemed to be withdrawing from people around him.

He was also getting into trouble at school and finding himself being placed in isolation, when before the incident Tom had been seen as a model student. 

He began feeling angry towards not only his peers, but the school system and his teachers so his loved ones became concerned.

This led to his referral to the Evolution Plus program, a serious violence support service provided by Base 51 across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

They offer advice, information, support, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy intervention and trauma counselling to young people who have been a victim of witness to or perpetrator of domestic abuse, sexual violence, knife crime, gang related violence or any other serious violence.

When they first met with him, they could see that Tom was suppressing the emotions caused by the trauma of the event which was causing him to lash out.

Tom began therapy to help him better understand his emotions and to learn how to communicate his feelings in healthier ways.

As a result of his sessions so far, Tom has started to express his feelings more and feels comfortable in doing so. He has also been able to start making sense of the incident he experienced.

Another valuable lesson Tom has learned from his work with the program is developing emotional literacy and normalising emotion as a human experience rather than hiding how he feels.

Tom said: “I didn’t know what to expect - but it’s been alright. I don’t feel ready to stop. I don’t know what it is, but it feels ok talking here.”

Tom’s sessions are set to continue and Evolution Plus plan to further explore his experiences and work with his sense of self and focus on the things he would like to change.

Katie Bush, counselling manager at Base 51, said: “Young people live in a difficult world, one that many of us could never begin to imagine or understand.

“Services like Base 51 exist to offer a space to explore these experiences safely, with experienced professionals who have dedicated their careers to understanding and supporting young people.

“Our Evolution Plus project is a vital specialist service that works with witnesses, victims and perpetrators of serious violence and works towards post-traumatic growth to enable young people to change the narrative and move towards a more positive future.”

This week is national Children’s Mental Health Week, which shines a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry is supporting the national week and wants to raise awareness on how young people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire can find mental health support when they need it.

She said: “Being mentally healthy is just as important as being physically healthy.

“We are extremely lucky to have dedicated services such as Base 51 who are so passionate about keeping our young people safe and offering support when they are most vulnerable.”

For more information about Base 51, visit: Young People's Charity | Base 51 | Nottingham

Posted on Friday 10th February 2023
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