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Our 16 year old daughter has dropped out of college because of anxiety and self esteem issues.

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Our 16 year old daughter has dropped out of college because of anxiety and self esteem issues.

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Our 16 year old daughter has dropped out of college because of anxiety and self esteem issues.

Our 16 year old daughter has dropped out of college because of anxiety and self esteem issues.  She has battled with these issues for several years whilst at school and often took time off.  Then Lockdown happened and, I think, having to stay at home actually papered over some of the cracks and meant she, we and the school didn't deal with them head on.  I don't know that it helped that she was in the year that didn't need to sit their GCSE's as, who knows, dealing with them might have helped her develop a few coping strategies for her anxiety. 


Anyway she, understandably, decided she didn't want to stay at school but do a BTEC at college.  Her mother and I felt very positive about this as a lot of her anxiety seemed to be linked to the school and failed friendships in the past that had affected her adversely and we hoped a change of environment and new friends would be really positive for her.


She did the first half term of a course and all seemed to be going well and indeed she made some good new friends but, at the end of the first half term break, all the old issues of anxiety about going to school/college came flooding back and, despite a lot of interaction and support from the college, she could not face returning and we could not persuade her otherwise. 


This resulted in her giving up her course with a view to trying to work on her mental health.  We also found her a private counsellor to talk to, although we're not sure if that is helping (see below).  For about 2 months or so she did very little except occasionally seeing the close friends she has from outside of school/college


She managed to get herself a part-time job for a few weeks and again we thought, maybe this would help her confidence to grow.  She seemed to really enjoy it at first and everyone there was really lovely.  Indeed we were further encouraged that she said on a couple of days that she was feeling anxious but still managed to go into work.  However, unfortunately we seem to have gone round the same circle again as, last week, she started saying she really couldn't face going in and has basically now handed in her resignation and left.


Her mother and I are really not sure what to do now?  The counsellor I mentioned doesn't seem to be dealing with the problem just a safe place for her to talk, which is of course absolutely fine but even my daughter says she doesn't think they are helping her.  She wants someone to support her and maybe give her some coping strategies to deal with her anxiety.  We tried on 2 occasions in the past to go through the NHS, but both times they said my daughters situation was not serious enough to refer her to CAMHS.  Also, my daughter has heard so much negative comments from her peers about CAMHS she id resisting trying that route again.  The thing is we do have the means to pay for some professional help, we're just not sure how to get the right sort of help for her, so any advice on that would be gratefully received.  We and she really hope we can get her to a place where she can return to education in September, but time seems to be against us unless we get her some more constructive help asap.


As you can probably tell we are pretty desperate for just a little guidance as to the best way forward for her and us.


Re: Our 16 year old daughter has dropped out of college because of anxiety and self esteem issues.

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Hi @Addis and welcome to the forums - thank you for reaching out to the community for support.

It sounds like your daughter has really been through a lot over the past few years, as have you as a concerned parent. It seems that her anxiety is having a big impact on all your lives. 

Does your daughter have quite general anxiety (about many things), or do you think her anxiety is more specific (eg. social anxiety)? We have an article here that discusses teenagers and anxiety in case you'd like more information.


The reason I ask is that sometimes if people have a specific form of anxiety, there may be specific forms of treatment targeted to their particular struggles (eg. a social anxiety group). Do you have a trusted GP or other health professional you could discuss your daughter's anxiety with, and possible treatment options?


When you say the counsellor doesn't seem to be helping, do you have the option of trying any other local psychologists or counsellors, for example one with a particular specialty in treating anxiety? 

I'm not sure if it's helpful, but Youth AccessYoung Minds, Open Door and Bd Wellbeing Service offer a range of different mental health supports for young people if you'd like to try taking a look at their websites or getting in touch with them. If they aren't able to help, hopefully they will be able to guide you to an appropriate service. 


It sounds like it's also been a very stressful and worrying time for you - do you have anything you can do to take care of yourself as well?


Re: Our 16 year old daughter has dropped out of college because of anxiety and self esteem issues.

Hi Addis Keep your daughter going to psychology sessions even though she says it doesn’t help. I understand that as l used to think the same way. There will come a time when things might start to click for your daughter during her sessions and she will start to understand herself better in ways you don’t usually get to in everyday life. It can seem like story telling when you go to psychology sessions. And nothing seems to come of the story telling. But that will change - though it might take quite some time (and expense) but the self discovery understanding and self acceptance that comes in time is worth it. That’s my experience anyway. I wish your daughter all the very best.