*Name changed for privacy

James* is a 15 year old boy from one of the local high schools. James was referred to the Links to Learning program for support in 2019. He was caught in an unhealthy circle of friends, was the class clown, using humour to deflect from what was going on for him. Although James has a supportive family, the school reported that he was disruptive, had low confidence, poor self-perception and was minimally engaged at school.
During the Links to Learning program, James asked a lot of questions. He often looked for solutions and strategies for others. He was charismatic and wanted to be liked. He quickly realized that in order to make a bigger difference, and to be looked up to for the right reasons, he needed to let go of the wrong friends. He was able to harness his personal strengths for more positive outcomes.
Back at school, James implemented a mental health initiative for RUOK Day, painting two playground tables bright yellow where kids could come to talk. He provided positive mental health messages for the school at assembly, and made sure students knew how to ask for help, and how to respond if a friend needed support. He provides notebooks and pens to people who are struggling, because he found writing down his thoughts was a helpful strategy.
James has decided that he’d like to be a psychologist. He is hoping to join the Youth Advisory Committee. He’s committed to attending the monthly Mental Health & Wellbeing drop-in at the Youth Hub, and has been a wonderful ambassador, not only for the programs offered by Highlands Youth Services, but for young people struggling to remain mentally well during an incredibly tough year.