Seth and Monica’s Story
Seth, 11, is described by his mother Monica, who has worked as a freelance fashion designer for 20 years, as ‘quiet’ and ‘sensitive’ by nature. But not long after he started primary school, Monica began to notice that Seth was becoming increasingly withdrawn.
Monica told us: “At first, he appeared to enjoy his time at school. He would come home and tell me about his day, but by the end of year one something had changed in him. He wasn’t progressing with his work and seemed disinterested in anything to do with school. I would always ask him if there was something wrong, but he’d say he was fine.
“By the time Seth reached year 3, I definitely knew there was something seriously wrong. Seth had turned into an extremely nervous child who would chew his fingernails until they bled. He would also chew his cuffs and his collars and was extremely depressed most of the time. He would also comfort eat and gained a lot of weight during this period.
“It was at this point that I was determined to get to the bottom of whatever was going on, and finally Seth reached breaking point and opened up to me. He told me that many of the other boys and girls would bully him. They would verbally and physically abuse him on a daily basis. They would taunt him and he just didn’t want to go back to school.
“I immediately called the school to inform them. The school acted swiftly to address this issue however, 4 years of continual harassment and continual bullying had played havoc on Seth’s psychological and emotional welfare.
“During this time, Seth also started to have serious migraines, which resulted in him regularly vomiting and feeling unwell. Though the school immediately enrolled Seth to their PDC unit for emotional support, and he was referred to CAMHS at a specialist children’s hospital for assessment and treatment, it soon became apparent that this intervention alone would not be enough to counteract 4 years of systematic bullying.
“I needed to get Seth out of his primary school and into an environment where he would feel safe and supported. I contacted FTCT to seek financial assistance, which would allow my son to go to somewhere new and make a fresh start.
“I was extremely nervous calling them at first because it felt quite daunting to ask for help and assistance. I am quite an independent person by nature. However, I had to think of my son and put his needs first. I just picked up the phone and I’m so happy that I did.
“Gradually, Seth has been able to gain a sense of self-worth and come out of his shell. I enlisted a home tutor to assist him to catch up with his schoolwork and, I would say, it is still an ongoing process today.
“This grant has made a huge difference to Seth’s life. He is now able to attend a school that suits his needs and he does not have to deal with other children with behavioral issues. He is able to study in an environment which is healthy and supportive. He talks about school in a positive light and he has made friends and for the first time in his life, he is actually enjoying school.
“He came home from school one day in the first term and said “Mummy I can’t believe it, considering I was so unpopular at my last school, I appear to be quite popular here.”
“Receiving this grant has not only improved his psychological health it has also improved his physical health. I have seen such a change in Seth in these past few months and I can’t thank FTCT enough because without your support none of this would be possible. We are still on a journey of recovery, but every day he is growing in confidence at school and he is fine at home.”*Names and pictures may have been changed to protect identities