To develop ideas for our story, about care and mental health, the team split into two groups to create characters. They were asked to create a fictitious character, to give him/her a name and an age. The group then worked in their groups to create a realistic set of circumstances for the character, including situations they were in, feelings, thoughts and emotions associated with the characters life in care.
One group created a character called Bradley, aged 12.
Bradley’s Back story
Bradley has been in care for 4 years. He has moved placement and now is settled in his 3rd placement. He has supervised contact with one parent but not the other. Has a 16 year old sister who lives away from him and stays in a homeless hostel. He has had one change in social worker an IRO and advocate who he gets along with. He has a foster parent with their own child who is of a similar age.
Bradley’s life circumstances
On the outside of the character the group wrote about Bradley’s circumstances.
- Likes Canoeing
- Feels settled in placement
- Feels unsettled at school
- Sometimes he doesn’t listen
- Missed opportunities so likes things perhaps not suitable for his age
- Has a small friendship circle
- Uncomfortable doing family activities
- Student support
Bradley’s feelings, thoughts and emotions
On the inside of the character the group wrote about Bradley’s thoughts feelings and emotions:
- Feels rejected
- Left out
- Feels under pressure
- Feels pushed aside
- Emotionally detatched
The second group created a character called Poppy, aged 14.
Poppy’s life circumstances
On the outside of the character the group wrote about Poppy’s circumstances:
- Taken out of class
- Lost out on some education
- Has some friends but some don’t understand her/he life
- Is growing up quick
- Has gone from having big family, to a small, strange family
- People ask her constant questions (interrogating) like is that your mum?
- Has to live with extra rules
- Has had lots of different social workers
- Has to tell story to professionals lots of times
- Has unanswered questuons
- Being driven to an unfamiliar place
- Is being bullied at school
- Being moved around
- Seeing family in the street
- Mum and Dad not turning up to contact
- Feels replaced
- Has attachment issues
- Lots of new people
- Less freedoms
- Dealing with stereotypes
- Lack of explanations
Poppy’s feelings, thoughts and emotions
On the inside of the character the group wrote about Poppy’s thoughts feelings and emotions:
- Feels conflict about talking to 2 families
- Doesn’t know if she should tell people her foster family are real family or not
- Wonders if it is her fault?
- Wonders if she will be a good enough parent when she is older?
- Depression and Anxiety
- Lack of trust
- Feel like an open book
- Wants a better social worker
- Doesn’t feel wanted
- Doesn’t feel loved
- Out of control
- Wonders where loyalties should lie
- Doesn’t want to tell anyone about care
- Lacks reassurances
- Feels replaced
- Pushed aside
- Wonders why a lot
The groups then presented their characters to each other. There were some differences in the themes but also many similarities in both the characters’ circumstances and feelings.