Meet the finalists: Mental Health & Wellbeing (sponsored by BBC Children in Need)
Youth work creates amazing outcomes for young people experiencing mental health issues by creating safe spaces, tackling stigma and discrimination, and offering care and support when it is needed the most. These finalists have been recognised for providing vital mental health services for young people, working with them to build a brighter future.
This category is sponsored by BBC Children in Need.
Let's meet the finalists!
Martin Lahiffe, North Berwick Youth Project
In 2015, a report by North Berwick High School highlighted inadequate youth mental health provision and long waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Guidance staff identified 158 children out of 881 with significant mental health difficulties. In response to this, the North Berwick Area Children and Youth Network developed a mental health pathway in a bid to improve outcomes for young people. As part of this, Martin of North Berwick Youth Project is delivering a guided self-help course to school pupils. This early intervention course, developed by CAMHS, uses a youth work approach to give young people a toolbox of strategies to help them feel more in control.
Martin’s dedication to improving the mental health of young people and the power of great youth work has resulted in a 30% drop in referrals to CAHMS and a reduction in unauthorised school absences of 70%.
Youth Health Champions, YoMo
Young Movers (YoMo) is definitely the right name for a charity who empower Glasgow’s young people to influence the decisions that affect them. They provide opportunities for young people to become more independent and resilient through lifelong learning, active citizenship and personal development. Its services include YouthBank, Peer Education, Youth Health Champions, Peer Research and Young Leaders, and the Youth Achievement Awards programme.
YoMo’s Youth Health Champions has taken peer education to a new level, building local partnerships to develop six issue-based workshops delivered by 70 young volunteers over the past three years. So far, it has connected with 45 different organisations, delivering over 200 workshops.
Its success has been such that the NHS has asked it to provide the youth engagement for the new £47m North East Health Hub due to open in 2023.
See Me Education and Young People’s Team
Mental health is part of everyone’s life, yet stigma still exists. See Me exists to tackle that stigma head on. Its team of dedicated youth volunteers is a vital part of that campaign, making sure that young people understand it’s okay to not be okay. Using a social contact model, volunteers deliver workshops, co-produce educational materials and advocate for young people’s rights.
Each member of the See Me team provides a different area of training so that volunteers can build a good level of mental health literacy and learn how to apply facilitation skills to help other young people find their voice.
Young people involved have completed an incredible 600 hours of volunteering in just three months.
Young volunteer Kirsty Hughes lauded the galvanising effect of See Me’s work: “Encouraged by See Me, we have created movement within our school and community, building acceptance of the importance of mental health.”