Meet Our Reboot West Team Leader

14th May 2024

In celebration of Mental Health Week and the launch of Big Give’s Kind2Mind fundraising campaign (14-28 May 2024), we interviewed the Team Leader for Reboot West. We spoke about why they decided on their career path, what they enjoy about working with young people and their thoughts on mental health challenges among young people facing homelessness or leaving care.

For privacy reasons, they preferred to remain anonymous.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your role as Team Leader at Reboot West.

“At Reboot West, we support young people with experience of the care system with their wellbeing while helping them to access meaningful education and employment opportunities. We provide long-term, 1:1 support informed by the youth model of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, DNA-V. Many of our young people have come to us through incredibly challenging circumstances, and demonstrate courage, strength, and humour every day.

As a team leader, I have a blended role on the project of casework with young people and managing a team of coaches. I love this as it means I get to work with my colleagues on developing practice while still having the fun and variety of working directly with young people.”


What inspired you to pursue a career in this field, working with young people facing challenges such as homelessness or leaving care?

“16 to 25 is a formative and exciting part of any young person’s life, when the choices that they make have the potential to enrich and sustain them through adulthood. It’s my favourite age group to work with, as young people are discovering so many new things and are passionate about so much! I believe in society’s responsibility to provide opportunities to every young person, especially those who have faced and continue to face challenges.”


What is your favourite thing about working for Reboot West and with young people?

“It’s hard to describe without sounding clichéd! Our young people really are amazing, funny, and surprising, and it’s a genuine pleasure to come to work and see them every day. Circumstances in our young people’s lives can sometimes be unbelievably challenging, and I’m proud both to offer support to them through the difficult times and to celebrate with them on good days.

I am also lucky to have a team of colleagues is skilled, enthusiastic, and supportive.”


Why is mental health support so important for young people, especially those facing homelessness or leaving care?

“The impact of the experiences of homelessness or the care system can be profound, and extra support can be needed to help young people rebuild from traumas experienced early in their lives. Access to the right mental health support can be life-changing, and allow people to live with joy and dignity. Support services are under-resourced and struggling to meet the current need in a trauma-informed way. There needs to be more comprehensive and flexible person-centred mental health support available to anyone who needs it.”


For those who might not know, can you explain what DNA-V is and how it contributes to mental health support for young people?

“DNA-V is a model of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy that is designed for work with young people in the community. It is focused on helping people develop awareness of the things most important to them in their lives, as well as skills to move towards these values. It’s an experiential model that we learn by using ourselves, and is embedded through every area of the Reboot project. As well as our work with young people, we use it in supervisions and group colleague spaces to better inform our practice.”


What are the most important values to you?

Trust, humour, and curiosity


Could you share a specific example of how DNA-V has positively impacted the mental well-being of a young person you work with?

“One of the best things about DNA-V is how accessible it is – it’s a simple approach that young people can connect with at whatever stage they are at in their own lives.

One young person I worked with DNA-V as a way to learn to exercise self-compassion and patience as he worked on building his confidence towards employment. Previously, he would set unattainable goals and then berate himself when he wasn’t able to meet them. By developing his skills in DNA-V, he was able to recognise each action he took as an opportunity to move towards his values. Eventually, he went from being unemployed and unable to leave the house to successfully landing a part-time job. He also enrolled on an entrepreneurship course and is hoping to start his own business one day. DNA-V also provided the building blocks in psychoeducation that enabled him to feel ready to enter long-term therapy, which has had a huge positive impact.”


Apart from DNA-V, what are some other ways Reboot West/1625 supports young people with their mental health?

“As a relationship-based service, we are able to offer young people consistent support from the same keyworker over the course of their time in the project. This offers trust and consistency, which is a big contributor towards good mental health. We are also able to tailor our service to meet the young person where they would like to focus the support – we can meet flexibly in the community at locations where they feel comfortable, and help them build confidence gradually until they feel ready to take a step in the direction of EET.”


In your experience, what are some of the biggest mental health challenges young people who are homeless or leaving care often encounter?

Trauma and isolation.


Do you have any tips for managing mental health?

Take the time you need to find what’s important and focus on making changes that are possible, even if they’re tiny. Seek support from trusted people.


Support the Big Give’s Kind2Mind Fundraising Campaign

You can help support the mental health of young people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness and leaving care by donating to Big Give’s Kind2Mind campaign. From 12pm on the 14th of May and 12pm on the 28th of May 2024, Big Give is matching your donations, your £10 becomes £20, £50 turns into £100 and so on. Double your kindness here.

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