At YouthLink Scotland we have the privilege of witnessing fantastic work undertaken by youth workers in so many different settings in communities everywhere to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people. Young people equally deliver innovative support that makes a crucial difference to so many other lives and should be part of the solution. Positive action underpinned by relationships and partnerships define the youth work sector. Youth Workers and other sectors do not always recognise the enormous difference youth work makes to mental health and wellbeing or sometimes struggle with their own confidence in this area.
During lockdown, when faced with an unexpected pandemic, the youth work sector did what it does best and adapted to extremely challenging circumstances for the benefit of young people. Meeting rooms, community halls and drop-ins quickly moved online as digital youth work became a necessity rather than a quirky innovation.
At YouthLink Scotland, we were keen to capture some of this work and were delighted to receive funding through the Wellbeing Fund to create a new mental health & wellbeing resource. The project engaged with six incredible youth work organisations from across Scotland who have adapted their service delivery and continued the support during Covid-19 – specifically around mental health & wellbeing.
During the 10-week project, youth workers have been taking part in weekly group meetings with us, undertaking five practice development sessions led by YouthLink Scotland, See Me Scotland and Penumbra.
It has been an intense and rewarding project, resulting in the creation of Heids Together, a free youth work resource.
We hope this resource will increase the capacity of the sector to engage in mental health support, increase confidence of youth workers, provide create and innovative ways of engaging in mental health discussions with young people which have been created by young people. We also hope it will encourage social connection, reduce isolation for young people and provide the opportunity for skills development.