Published on: October 26, 2022
Gemma Austin, of our Warwickshire Children and Young People’s Substance Misuse Service about her new role as Health and Wellbeing NEET Worker – that’s Not in Education, Employment or Training.
Hi Gemma, tell us about yourself and this role.
Yes. Hi. My name’s Gemma and I’m a drug and alcohol NEETS worker. I work with children and young people who are at risk of exclusion or have been excluded, due to the impact that drugs and alcohol is having on their education, training or employment.
There’s always a reason why someone’s using these substances, and it might be because they’re using to cope with a mental health problem and it could be that there’s something going on at home and they’re using it for the stress. And or it could be just that they enjoy it and it’s about trying to break the cycle. So, looking at why you don’t like using it. Why do you want to stop. And they might say it’s expensive, or that and me and my mum are falling out. Or my attendance at school is really bad or I’m getting in lots of trouble at school, I’m always getting detention.
How do you know where to start helping the young person?
It’s working on those reasons as to why they want to change, working on their motivation to change. I’ll be asking them lots of questions. I’ll get an idea of everything that’s going on in their life really, build a rapport with them, look at their family, their support networks, their hobbies, their interest, their friendship groups.
And I’ll be asking questions about what do they like about their drug and alcohol use? Why are they using it? So if it is for their mental health, for example, I’d be working outside to look at how I can get them some mental health support, whether that’s in school or outside of school.
They need to respect you to listen to you. How do you achieve that?
I think it’s a process and it is a journey and I think being consistent with the message is really important. You know, turn up when you tell them that you’re going to turn up. And if I’m meeting them in school, I’ll say ‘I’ll meet you at this time, on this day’ and be there. And validate how how they’re feeling.
They might come with anger or frustration. I think that listening in itself is really important. It can take a long time, but it works. And it I’ve seen it work.
Do you think really wanting the best for the young person is important. Does it help having that in mind?
You know, I genuinely care about everyone I work with.
I want them to have the best possible outcome, but it’s about them as well. Wanting that change and them telling me what they want. And then I will let them know how I can help them.
Trying to keep children safe and on the right path is something I’m really passionate about and they can get in contact with us on our website.
Thank you, Gemma.