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Problem-solving in school

In this video we see an example of a teacher working with a depressed teenager to manage school and other issues.
So thanks for coming in to see me today. Jack, I know that you haven’t been in school for a little while because you’ve been feeling quite low really and not very motivated to get in. What have you tried to try and get him in? Everything.
I mean, usually he used to walk in. So we encouraged him to try that. We let you have a lie in, or we get you up early if you want that. Or we’ve offered him lifts. Done you a fry up some days to get you out of bed. Sometimes I lose my rag a bit. And we’ve tried everything. So you’ve tried lots of different ways to try and get him in and its still not working. Yeah. It’s very frustrating really. The meeting today really is to try and see what we can do to try and get you in. So I know you’ve tried really hard. Maybe we can think together about some things that might work.
So what do you think might be something that would help you get in to school?
Would I have to come to school every day. No. You don’t have to come to school every day. So if it’s going to help you to come in for some sessions rather than others, or some days rather than every day, then we can look at that. What are you thinking? Maybe if I went home a bit earlier on some days. OK so come home, so sort of come into school sort of half a day or something like that, or leave early. Any other ideas?
Could I only come in for certain lessons? OK. So what are your favourite lessons? I know you like PE because you’re quite sporty I know. What else? I like maths and art. OK. So maybe looking at the days when you’ve got PE, maths, art for the majority of the day and identifying those ones. OK. Can you think of anything else that might help? Could I maybe do some stuff at home? OK. So take work home. Would it be helpful if you walked to school sometimes with a friend? I know you’re really close to Jim. Would that help? Yeah. Yeah. It could. Yeah. How do you get to school normally? I normally just walk on my own. OK.
Maybe going with Jim then might help? Yeah? OK. I know that you were trying to drive him in sometimes, weren’t you? Yeah. We do offer, don’t we. Sometimes I can do it or mum. OK. One thing might be helpful just to think about what would be a positive and what might be a negative. So what might be a pro or con of each of these different ideas. So driven in by mum and dad. What would be good about that? Less effort. Not walking. Yeah. What might be a drawback of that? Dunno. We argue quite a lot when we’re alone. OK. So you might argue more. Yeah. I think some mornings neither of us could be around. OK.
But so we can do it some days. Between us, maybe three or four days a week. But not every day. Yeah. So not available every day. OK. So coming in for lessons that you prefer, like PE, maths, and art. What would be the positives about that? I’d enjoy it more. Right. Cause it’s lessons that you like. It’d make me want to come in more, rather than like a chore. Yeah. So you’d be looking forward to coming in. OK. I wouldn’t fall asleep in class. OK. So you’d be more motivated and awake, would you say? Yeah. OK. What might be a con for doing that? Be a negative?
Maybe I don’t know if I’d have the effort to do all the hard stuff at home. OK. That if you’re only in a part of the week and you’ve got to do some work at home, you might not bother to do the bit that you have to do at home. Yeah. OK. And then what about walking in with Jim? What would be good about that? I suppose I don’t really see him as much now, cause I stay at home quite a lot. So it’d be nice to catch up. It would be an opportunity to catch up with your friend. Yeah. Yeah. Taking work home. So not coming in, but actually just doing work at home.
What would be positive about that? It wouldn’t be as long a day I don’t think. I’d be able to work to whatever I feel like. OK. So it’s flexible and can work whenever you want. What might be one of the negatives of that then? I probably want to play my Xbox. OK. So you might be so flexible you don’t actually do any work. Yeah. OK. And then what about being driven in by mum and dad? I suppose I’d be able to have more time to get up in the mornings. And it would be a bit easier. Anything that might be a bit of a problem there or disadvantage?
It’s just that we argue quite a lot when we’re in the car on our own. Yeah. OK. I can imagine. Sometimes it’s difficult, isn’t it, getting on with your parents. But so looking at all of these options, which one would you really want to? I think I want to walk in with Jim some days. OK. So you want to walk in with Jim. So that would be the thing that you think might help you get here? Yeah. OK. So if we work with walking in with Jim, and then if there are any of these other options that you think might work well as well, we can slot them in. So we’ve got half term coming up.
Do you think you might be able to come in after half term? Does that sound like that would be a good time to start? Yeah. Yeah? Yeah. OK. And how many days in that week would you feel able to try and get in?
We can try every day. Oh, that would be brilliant. That’s excellent. If you could try and get in every day I think that’d be really good. So if you came back on the half term, and we had the days of the week, which are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, which days are you or your wife available? Is usually Wednesday neither of us can do. So Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. You’re available. Usually, yeah. So looks like Wednesdays are walk with Jim. Yeah. How else would you want to do that then for your week? Could I do it Fridays walk with Jim as well so we go to the park afterwards? Yeah. Sounds like a good idea.
Is there anything that might get in the way of that working, do you think? If I have a bad weekend, or if something goes wrong in the week I would probably might want to come into school. Right. OK. So if something goes wrong outside of school, that kind of affects whether you want to come in school or not. Yeah. Would it help if somebody was available, a member of staff, to greet you when you came in? Yeah. I know you get on really well with Mr. McAllister, don’t you? So if he was around, I know he’s really sporty as well, isn’t he? Yeah. So if he was around and then greeted you when you first came in, would that help?
OK. So I can have a word with him, and then he can greet you each day so that at least you’ve got somebody to talk to if something’s gone wrong. I know Wednesdays and Fridays are going to be good days for you, because that’s the day you’ve got maths and PE, and you’ve got art as well. The other days, are you going to have a go at staying all day? Is it just getting in that’s the problem? So once you’re in, it’s kind of OK? If something goes wrong in the day or if I’m feeling down maybe could I have like half days? Is that an option?
So why don’t we try and make a plan that we can stick to. So if we know you’re going to be a whole day, maybe it’s a day when you walk home with Jim, you’ll try and stay for the whole day. But you’ll come and see me at the end of the day if there’s been a problem. But we can build up. So why don’t we start with the first week you doing two half days and then building up from the full day from the Wednesday to the Friday. Because that’s got two days of the things you like doing anyway. Does that sound OK? Yeah.
And then the second week we can try and see if we can do the whole day. If there are lessons or issues, then let me know. You know where my office is. And then we can see if we can work around it. But I’ll arrange for Mr. McAllister to meet you each of the mornings as well. Does that sound OK? Yeah. Yeah? Yeah. OK. Yeah. Brilliant. OK. Thank you.

Sometimes it’s appropriate or necessary to become more involved with your teen’s school when there are issues such as bullying, attendance or academic difficulties.

Young people with depression often find it hard to remember to problem solve their difficulties. However, there may be opportunities where parents or teachers can become involved in problem-solving issues with the young person. This will have a double positive effect. Firstly, it’ll hopefully help the teen to find some solutions to their problems and feel more confident and in control and secondly, it’ll demonstrate the problem-solving process to the young person, thereby helping them to learn to solve more of their problems in this way.

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Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

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