LGBTQ+ History Month: Max's story

LGBTQ+ History Month: Max's story

Case study from February 1, 2023

Max is 14 and is going through a gender transition. The stresses of feeling he was in the wrong body were impacting negatively on his mental health, often stopping him from going to school. School-Home Support practitioner Kayleigh helped Max to develop strategies to process his feelings and worked with his family to ensure they had the tools and understanding to best support Max through his transition. Happier in himself and with a strong support network, Max’s attendance increased from 57% to 97% by the end of the school year.

What was the situation?

Max is 14 years old and lives at home with his dad, step mum and step brother. He is one of 7 and visits his mum and his siblings each weekend. Max is part way through his gender transition and his family on his mum’s side have been struggling to adjust, sometimes referring to him as female. While Max’s dad has been very supportive with the changes he is going through, the stresses of feeling he is in the wrong body have impacted negatively on Max’s mental health. In his low moments, Max would miss school and self harm, and was becoming increasingly isolated from his family and his peers. When he was referred to School-Home Support, his attendance was just 57% and both his family and his school were very concerned about his well being.

How did School-Home Support help?

School-Home Support practitioner Kayleigh developed a trusting relationship with the whole family, which allowed her to support the family with all aspects of Max’s transition including providing advice on the medical interventions available and how to get a referral into the service. Kayleigh worked with dad to help him understand the feelings and thoughts that Max was having, as well as assisting with making appointments. 

Kayleigh began meeting with Max regularly, supporting him at school and discussing the feelings he was having. Together, they developed strategies to prevent his negative feelings leading to self harm, such as creating a distraction box that Max can turn to when he is feeling low. Kayleigh has also taken Max to boxing sessions, to reduce his isolation and build up his confidence.

Kayleigh’s support has enabled the family to better understand Max’s gender dysphoria and set out a path for the family to take to support Max to live the way he wants to live. Having his family’s support and understanding has given Max more confidence to express himself and to cope with his low feelings. Max’s school attendance has since improved significantly, to 97% by the end of the school year. 

‘Families need support to understand what their child or young person is going through, and raising awareness is a big part of this. This family now has the relevant tools and information to be able to support Max through his journey, something which I was able to provide by looking beyond the classroom into what was happening at home.’

Kayleigh, School-Home Support practitioner

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