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Did I do the right thing?

(44 Posts)
BumpNGrind Fri 07-Mar-14 17:27:51

Sorry for posting here but I wasn't sure of where else to post.

I was a stall holder at an event today. I was there on behalf of my organisation and providing information. The event was for International Women's Day and it's aim was to show up to 300 young women and girls a range of career options. I work in a male dominated industry.

To draw young people over to the stand I asked the young people to fill in a post it note and write a message to their future selves. This way I could start a conversation with them. It was going really well and we had notes saying 'be happy', 'work hard' 'don't give up on your dreams'. Really positive messages.

Near the end of the event a 15/16 yr old came over, we chatted briefly and she wanted to fill a post it note in, she asked if she could use text speak and then handed me the note upside down so I couldn't read it, she then ran off.

I read the note and it said 'In the future, don't cut yourself'. I read it and had no idea what to do but ran after her, I said to her that I was there if she wanted to chat to me and that she could trust me and left it at that. The place was heaving and I didn't want to shout it out. I then spoke to the organiser who said she would find out what school the person was from and contact the teacher, (all the young people came with their schools). I followed it up after and the teacher had been told confidentially.

I am now torturing myself that I didn't do enough or that I should have responded differently, but I've never been in this situation. What could I have done?

littleballerina Fri 07-Mar-14 17:29:58

I don't think that you could have done more.

She was very brave for writing it and you were very brave to try to help. Don't torture yourself.

bopoityboo3 Fri 07-Mar-14 17:32:14

I think you did the right thing.

You may have confirmed for the school something they suspected anyway and by telling them given the teenager a chance to talk about it.

NiaceGuidelines Fri 07-Mar-14 17:32:56

Nope. You did exactly the right thing. Well handled. You did more than enough.

15 years work with young people and loads of qualifications behind me. Well done. What a great activity idea. (am going to borrow it)

ItsBritneyBitch Fri 07-Mar-14 17:33:29

Amazing. You done well smile

BumpNGrind Fri 07-Mar-14 17:36:21

I'm really worried that I was wrong because that must have taken all of her courage to do and maybe something more instant should have happened. I was wondering if I should have taken her to one side and given her more of a chance to speak.

pinkyredrose Fri 07-Mar-14 17:42:54

You told her she could trust you and then blabbed her business about. I know you were trying to help but I was that 15 yr old once and I'd have been horrified if what I'd written on the post it note came back to haunt me before I was ready to talk about it.

bopoityboo3 Fri 07-Mar-14 17:52:49

pinkyredrose the op didn't promise not to pass what she was told on. In the long run this will probably turn out to be in the 15yo best interest. The school wont be trying to ram interventions on her they will just keep a closer eye on her and make it clear that she has the option to talk to people seek help etc. It's not like the school will be posting it in the next school news letter, they will be putting her needs and safety first.

NiaceGuidelines Fri 07-Mar-14 17:53:06

I tihnk if the interaction has left you feeling like that then I would say this.

She wanted to make a statement to herself, you gave her the opportunity. I doubt she specifically wanted to talk to you. She was probably testing how the world would respond and you respond with concern, which is good.

I hope the teacher who has this infomation deals with it in the right way, which might just be, at this time, to do nothing but keep an eye.

natwebb79 Fri 07-Mar-14 17:54:50

So the OP should have left it knowing a child was self harming?! The teacher is trained to deal with these situations very sensitively. The girl was obviously crying out for help otherwise she would not have written the note. Well done OP. As a teacher I too shall be pinching your idea for tutor times if you don't mind. smile

NiaceGuidelines Fri 07-Mar-14 17:59:39

Everyone acted appropriately. This girl could be cutting unsafely or desperate for someone to talk to. Or she could be managing her cutting well and already have support. We dont know. The op doesnt know. From that point, OP did the right thing.

Onepactupac Fri 07-Mar-14 18:03:01

I don't know if it was the right thing, but I would have done the same thing, ensuring as far as I could that the girl is treated sensitively.

Poor child.

PurplePidjin Fri 07-Mar-14 18:09:09

You did exactly the right thing. Confidentiality doesn't mean you keep everything secret, it means that if you think someone is getting or going to get hurt, you let relevant people know in private. If she'd written "Don't let Uncle X touch my bum" what would you have done? Had a quiet word.

Hopefully the school will deal with it sensitively but you've done the right thing even if the girl doesn't agree with you right now.

littleballerina Fri 07-Mar-14 18:09:32

Pinky- What would you as that 15 year old self have wanted this stranger to do?

littleballerina Fri 07-Mar-14 18:10:56

That didn't make sense! sorry.

HadABadDay2014 Fri 07-Mar-14 18:13:45

You are not a trained to deal with this, so you did the right thing in speaking to the school who will know what's the best course of action to take.

CombineBananaFister Fri 07-Mar-14 18:23:35

Think you did the right thing - confidentiality is one thing but when someone is hurting themselves surely it's different, it's not like you were her doctor or therapist who has rules to uphold?
Plus she wrote the note in an environment knowing it was going to be read so maybe it was a small reach out/cry for help.

pinkyredrose Fri 07-Mar-14 18:36:55

I'd have probably thought better of them if they'd given me a number or a website where I could access support as and when I was ready.

I'd have hated being in school feeling that all the teachers knew what I was doing and were keeping their beady eyes on me.

littleballerina Fri 07-Mar-14 18:44:03

What if the person wasn't trained and had no number or website to offer you.

Surely it was better to do something rather than nothing?

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Fri 07-Mar-14 18:45:12

In my opinion, BumpNGrind, you have done something really special today. You made a vulnerable, hurting young woman feel able to open up to you, and that is such a difficult thing for someone in her position to do. Hopefully, now she has done it once, she may find it easier to open up about it again, to someone who knows her - maybe the teacher who brought her.

I don't see what else you could have done, and, in fact, I think you did all the right things. Even with the benefit of time to consider this, I can't think of anything I would have done differently - and you didn't have the luxury of time to consider.

So please, don't beat yourself up - you did a really good thing today, I think.

pinkyredrose Fri 07-Mar-14 19:15:05

Well if the person wasn't trained they shouldn't take it upon themselves to decide to blab personal info and break a young persons confidence.

An untrained person could unwittingly cause more harm than good.

FryOneFatManic Fri 07-Mar-14 19:16:50

pinkyredrose I think in this situation, the girl was probably ready to talk. She'd written a note about self-harming, when there was no promise of confidentiality; she knew that note would be read.

Hopefully now she'll get the help she needs.

thornrose Fri 07-Mar-14 19:19:16

The first rule of child protection with regard to disclosure is never promise that you will keep it a secret. You said she could trust you and that meant you needed to tell someone that can help her. You did the right thing.

FryOneFatManic Fri 07-Mar-14 19:20:33

thornrose said what I was going to say.

Trust and confidentiality are not the same thing, at all.

thornrose Fri 07-Mar-14 19:23:22

Well if the person wasn't trained they shouldn't take it upon themselves to decide to blab personal info and break a young persons confidence. speaking as "a trained person" I would have done exactly the same as the Op.

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