Many of the young people LifeLine work with have been deeply affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – or trauma. A growing body of research has identified the harmful effects that such experiences occurring during childhood, or teenage years (for example among others, exposure to domestic violence, or substance abuse or household mental illness) have on lifetime health. Individuals who have ACEs also tend to have more physical and mental health issues as adults than those who don’t and also tend to have a shorter life expectancy*.
A friend of mine recently commented that for some young people, ‘the edge’ is very close. Her and her husband have prioritised family life. They place a high value on having fun together, and talking together as a family has been something they have tried to cultivate.
When one of their children came back from the first term at university and described some of the things that were going on, they were able to support and point them in the right direction. This child (no longer a child!) is making positive choices about the future – career, relationships and lifestyle. ‘The edge’ is quite a long way off.
According to the charity Our Time, the cost of non-intervention for children who are affected by mental health issues is estimated to be a staggering £17 BILLION per year.
Furthermore, research indicates that children living with a parent with mental illness will themselves experience some degree of mental ill-health, unless they get some early support.
‘Deji is dead. He was stabbed, I don’t understand… Why?’ Chilling words from the mother of a former LifeLine School student, killed in the middle of the day, in broad daylight, on a residential street in south London. He will never have the opportunity to fulfil the dreams he had discussed with his mentor when he left LifeLine school with a 100% attendance record in 2012. All sorts of questions fill our minds: ‘How on earth are his family coping with this dreadful news? What went wrong? What can we do to prevent this happening to other students?’
On the 22nd September LifeLine delivered a series of workshops on knife crime to students in a Dagenham school.
Although the school had registered 15 year-11 students for one of the workshops, it had to be cancelled, as only 12 were in attendance. One student was recovering in hospital having been stabbed the previous week and two others had been arrested by police investigating the killing of 15-year-old Jordan Douherty, the youngest person to be killed by knife crime in London this year.
With ‘loneliness’ at an all-time high the question LifeLine are asking is: How do we ensure that it’s not just houses that are built, and services that are offered, but we also build community and a sense of belonging?
The new school year has started and across the UK teachers are starting to feed the minds of another year’s cohort of the young people who are curious and eager to learn, with a vision for their future, but what about those young people who do not share the same enthusiasm for learning, those who already seem to be on a path to a future where things aren’t good? Where is the provision for the most vulnerable, those who lack positive influences or relationships, and are in danger of dropping out of education?
At our recent graduation event, one parent said “When he was at school, my son was never allowed to go on a trip, but SW!TCH Expeditions has taken him on an adventure of a lifetime”. On the 27th June, SW!TCH Expeditions returned from a ten-day trip to Sierra Leone which was the culmination of a two-year programme of full-time alternative provision. “This trip exceeded all our expectations” reflects Nathan Singleton, LifeLine Projects CEO. “For a start, I got to do some touristy things for the first time in ten years of visiting!”. Sierra Leone was a huge opportunity for personal breakthrough in the students.
In the wake of the Brexit vote we have a government that is focused on Brussels and not much else, or so it seems. This, however, is a key time to share solutions for the AP issue. There has been a steep increase in referrals to AP in education. As I have discussed this with other sector leaders there is general agreement that current progress measures and Ofsted’s Common Inspection Framework are not suitable for AP.
At LifeLine we are committed to making a difference in the community in which we live and work. I’m delighted to be able to announce a hat trick of GOOD ratings from Ofsted.
LifeLine currently operates two Little Learners Nurseries and Pre-Schools and these, along with SW!TCH Expeditions, one of our Alternative Provisions for secondary education were inspected during the latter part of 2017. We have now received confirmation that each one received a GOOD rating.
According to research, loneliness is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience. Loneliness and social isolation are actually harmful to our health: lacking social connections is as much of a risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity.