Christopher is a 12 year old who cares for his mother who has battled with her mental health from her young teenage years. Mum has been diagnosed with Bipolar and Personality Disorder whilst also suffering from several other mental health conditions.
Currently Christopher lives with his mum in a council property, in the house there is only Mum and Christopher and both rely heavily upon each other. The family is extremely isolated.. Mum suffers from extreme anxiety which directly impacts her ability to socialise with others effectively. Their local support network is just professional support, although Mum struggles to form positive relationships with professionals.
Covid 19 has caused great complications to this family. They were due to move into a new property, but found themselves waiting due to lock down restrictions, adding to their stresses.
Support telephone contact with mum occurs weekly, early in lock down, mum disclosed that she was experiencing very low moods she felt that she was struggling to care for Christopher and fulfil his education at home. Therefore, this has led to frequent emotional outbursts and arguments between mum and Christopher further impacting upon mums mental health and further isolating Christopher.
Our support involved contacting Christopher’s school enquiring about time for Christopher to attend school, thus providing space for both Christopher and mum. This led to Christopher attending school initially 3 days a week as a transitional period. Christopher then chose to attend school 5 days a week. Christopher attending school 5 days a week has had a positive impact upon both mum and Christopher. Mum has stated that she feels better able to cope at home. She also stated that her struggles with getting Christopher out of bed and washed in the morning has decreased as he is excited to go to school which prevented the usual argument between mum and Christopher.
A 1-to-1 with Christopher had portrayed that he enjoyed going into school as this provides him time away from the family home, he is fully supported with his school work which also decreases the amount of school work that has to be conducted in school. Similarly, he said that things at home are a lot better and has also disclosed he has seen an improvement in mum’s mental health. We spoke about things that Christopher can do at home which positively and negatively impacts mums mood. He stated that when he leaves rubbish in his room and talks back to mum this negatively impacts his mum’s mood. Therefore, we agreed that he would remove his rubbish from his room and put it directly into recycling bins. We also spoke about different activities that he would like to do at home with mum. Christopher stated that he would like to learn how to cook.
Following my 1-to-1 with Christopher mum contacted me via text expressing that Christopher is continuing to get himself up and dressed and has cooked for himself whilst also asking her to teach him some more cooking techniques. Mum has also stated that following a conversation with myself she has reflected upon her parenting with Christopher and said that they have made great progress as Christopher is getting himself ready and they are starting to get a routine in place.
Mum has praised and disclosed that she felt very supported by Derbyshire Young Carers and stated that she is grateful for the support we give for Christopher and herself.
During CV19 mum received the call that she was able to move into her new property. Mum stressed that she was struggling to afford the move and was worried that Christopher and herself may have to go without food. I spoke to my line manager and found funding for mum for food. I completed the referral form on the families’ behalf and they were granted the funding which was quickly provided to the family. The family had stated how extremely grateful they are for the support regarding the food.
Through a 1-to-1 with Christopher over the telephone while he was at school he revealed that he loves the new house, he said the move was very stressful but it gives mum a new start. He said he has got the biggest room and that he really likes it because there is a lot of space and he can play his gaming computer in the corner. He as a massive bed and is able to put all his art and craft materials into a cupboard. Mum said that the move was stressful but she is incredibly proud of them for achieving this move and she is incredibly proud of Christopher for his behaviour and help during this stressful time.
I have maintained regular contact with the family as well as with the social worker. The relationship between myself and the family social worker has enabled multi-agency approaches as well as ensuring the family is supported and both updated upon changing circumstances. Through multi-agency approach it was made clear that mum was unable to cook healthy food which she desired to do for Christopher and herself due to the new property not having a cooker. Due to CV19 restrictions neither myself nor the social worker are able to enter the new property, so we have been relying on mum and Christopher disclosing if they have need of any further support post move. Mum had stated to social worker that she was struggling to find funds for a new cooker. The social worker contacted myself and stated that she has some funds but needed more to cover the rest of the cost for the cooker, delivery and fitting costs. After consulting my line manager it has been agreed that DCA would fund this shortfall through the crisis fund.
What I intend to do next:
· Regular contact with mum on a weekly basis- providing emotional support and seeing how Christopher is doing at home. Mum and Christopher have the support workers email/ mobile number which they can contact if they need support outside of what has been planned.
· Regular 1-to-1 with Christopher. Telephone conversation with school to highlight the importance of 1-to-1 in school. If they are unable to do this 1-to-1 will take place with Christopher in the evening over the telephone/ video call once he is home from school.
· Christopher to be invited to small group video calls organised by young carers team to increase his social interaction.
· Family support sessions to take place with Christopher, mum and support worker over video call. Focusing upon communication, worries and anxieties of both mum and Christopher. Putting in methods/rules decided by both Christopher and mum to help reduce arguments in the home and improve communication.
· Continued multi-agency approach.
· Support worker to consult with finance regarding cooker payment.
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