When Eve’s mum contacted Red Balloon of the Air (RBAir) desperately seeking help for her daughter, things didn’t look great.
Like many teenagers living in the digital era, Eve’s self-confidence was wrecked from the constant pressure to appear perfect on social media. Eve hated the way she looked, and her self-doubt in her appearance was having a massive impact on her well-being. She was convinced she would never take GCSEs, socialise or have any sense of a normal life again.
Despite feeling she couldn’t change her future, Eve wanted to try. She wanted to learn and wanted to change the way she was feeling. In her words:
“I want to do the things I used to do with ease and took for granted, like walking to the shop for sweets or going on holiday.”
Meeting her mentor
In the beginning, Eve’s RBAir mentor visited her at home. Despite desperately wanting to be able to leave the house, it was also the only place Eve felt comfortable. In addition to her self-image issues, it became clear that Eve also had multiple phobias. She was worried, for example, that something bad would happen if she walked past a hospital.
The first step Eve’s mentor took was to establish a routine: once a week, she would visit Eve at her home for a cuppa and a chat. Eve also had her mentor’s mobile number and email, so she felt safe knowing she could reach out when needed. Eventually, Eve started going on short walks with her mentor, going a bit further each time.
However, her phobias didn’t disappear overnight and Eve’s self-doubt about her appearance didn’t improve immediately. Throughout the eight months she was with Red Balloon, there were ups and downs. At one point, Eve hit an all-time low. Her mentor had to seek help from a Red Balloon therapist, who was able to intervene and assist Eve in crisis. But after this experience and through regular visits with her mentor, and support from the therapist, Eve realised that she wasn’t alone.
She realised that she had the Red Balloon team behind her. She also had a community of peers who could empathise with her challenges and aspirations.
A bright future
Eve has since visited the hospital three times (and even took public transport, conquering another fear). Over the summer holidays, she left the house and spent time with friends at least once a week. She joined an online Red Balloon study group and came to the learning hub every week, while busy studying for her Psychology, Maths and English GCSEs.
Eve is still uncertain about what she wants to do for a career. But she has gained the self-confidence to know that if she wants to go to college next year, she absolutely can.
Thanks to the guidance of dedicated Red Balloon staff, and her mentor most of all, Eve’s future looks significantly brighter.