Ivy was a 14-year-old girl who had been living with the same foster carer since she was 4. She loved school, was achieving well, and was surrounded by friends that were very supportive. She was described as always being happy but recently things had changed. Due to circumstances beyond her control she had to be removed from the foster family she had always seen as her own.

When our Independent Advocate first met Ivy, she had recently been moved into a temporary foster placement a long way from her school. She felt isolated and lonely. She spoke about feeling abandoned, separated from her family and having no one she could trust.

The Independent Advocate began to work on building a trusting relationship with Ivy, so she felt comfortable to open up. On one of these visits she confided about how low in mood she was feeling, that as a result she had started to self-harm and was now having to hide the marks from other people. The Independent Advocate gave her time to talk about how she was feeling, and discussed what support was available.

She shared with the Independent Advocate that she was not comfortable in speaking to somebody directly but felt online would help. With her taking the lead, they researched the different websites and what support each offered. The sites showed Ivy strategies she could try such as breathing techniques, using elastic bands to flick, stress balls, listening to music, drawing in red pen and more. Now she had access to more information she decided that the website www.kooth.com would be the right support for her as they used online chat rooms.

With support from her Independent Advocate she felt confident enough to compose an email, she told her Social worker how she was truly feeling.  Having written the email, she explained it felt like a big weight had been lifted off her shoulders. On receiving the email, the Social worker arranged to meet Ivy. Ivy requested that her Independent Advocate attended as well so she would feel confident to speak up.

Before the meeting, the Independent Advocate discussed with Ivy about how she would like to be supported so they knew exactly what Ivy wanted to say in the meeting. Ivy took control and told her story the way she wanted to and her Social worker listened.

Ivy explained to him that she was very unhappy in her current placement and her Social worker said he would help to find her a more suitable long-term placement. Which he did, finding her a placement near to her school, her friends and with a family she already knew and trusted.

Ivy felt that the Kooth sessions were helping and had significantly reduced her self-harming however her foster carers would only allow her to use the internet for completing schoolwork. The Independent advocate raised this with her Social worker. He prioritised this and arranged that she would be allowed extra time to access her online Kooth support sessions.

By the Independent Advocates last visit, Ivy was much happier within herself. She had settled well with her new family, she could see her friends and continued to achieve well at school. Ivy had learnt techniques and knew where to find support for her mental health and had become an ambassador for mental health within her school, sharing techniques and supporting other young people.