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Shropshire TaMHS team helping re-write young people’s stories

September 16th, 2013 by Suzanne Sweeney

The TaMHS – (Targeting Mental Health Support) team in Shropshire were trained as STAR Champions earlier in the year and have begun to utilise the STAR toolkit with small targeted groups of young people in a selection of schools in the county.

The team met to complete a mid way evaluation and shared their thoughts with us and we were so thrilled with the results the Champions were seeing that we wanted to share their story. We felt that their efforts were helping the young people they were working with to re-write their own stories. A full evaluation report will be completed later in the year but if you wish to know more about this type of work then please just email Helen Wakefield at

Here are some of the comments from the Champions who have been working with small groups of pre-identified young people who may have a range of issues that the TaMHS team and/or the school feel would benefit from this type of intervention.

“The week that began to shine was “Roles”; four out of the six pupils didn’t have any idea about their roles in life, or within the community or ideas on their future job roles. As a group when we started to talk about our roles within our family and school, the young people encouraged each other about what they did and how they saw them. There were exchanges of very supportive comments – “role model in friendships, team players, mentor for chess club” again words being shared was like a light bulb moment that made them all realise they had a purpose.”

“In the treasures exercise one young person shared experiences and values that were important to them with regards to caring. There was a disabled family member who this young person cared for and their skills and values showed through in this exercise and throughout the remainder of the program their choices were clear being based upon their skill base of caring and when we reached Roles decided that a paramedic was a good choice for future progression.”

 “On week one we completed the mirror exercise, which the boys found a real challenge with one pupil not wanting to show how he saw himself; one pupil being cross that I had asked him to draw or write words that best described him and one pupil just not wanting to do this. We set homework after each session and pupils were open to sharing their achievements, proud moments and ideal creation of their job role for the future. As the weeks went on their behaviours got worse until week four when we talked about ambitions and then glimmers of calm shone through. The session had been moved due to timings of a PE lesson and four of the boys were disappointed as they thought STAR had been cancelled. So when we went to week five and discussed Roles the boys were keen to engage and a great debate was had about local jobs and what they could do. There were no unruly behaviours and with the exception of one pupil the boys were listening and putting their hands up to speak and answer questions, it was a pleasure to share the last weeks with them. The boy who didn’t want to draw or write anything in week one shared that he was proud to be a brother and a son and wanted to make his mum proud and hadn’t been on report for two weeks now and that was because he was making a positive choice to behave in lessons. At the end of the session he went back through his folder and looked at the picture he had drawn, he shared how cross he was and that he had felt stupid being asked to do the mirror and didn’t like himself much then. However he also shared that he didn’t want to be bad guy and wanted to do well and make his mum proud. Sadly he was off in week 6 poorly, but he had been clear of report for 2 weeks and not late into school. The Golden ticket showed an understanding of STAR and the choices that they could make, the boys apologised for their behaviours at the start and commented on how they want to do the program in Year 10 to see if things had changed and if they were better kids. The TA took this away along with the cards descriptions of what they didn’t enjoy or weren’t good at to look for any triggers and that they could support the boys with moving forward in year 10. Feedback from the group again was positive.”


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