Y2B – Young People’s Mental Health Programme

Community-based support through a youth work approach

Y2B – Young People’s Mental Health Programme is a partnership between Youth Scotland, Scotland’s charity for community-based youth work, and Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity with over 25 years’ experience working with pupils, families and staff in UK schools. Supported by the STV Children’s Appeal, the three-year programme seeks to combine our expertise to build and support youth worker’s understanding of mental health across Scotland.

Together, we will provide practical opportunities for support, such as peer mentoring and feeding-back young people’s insights and challenges as the programme builds year-to-year.

The Impact of Covid-19

While young people may not have been impacted as badly through direct contact with the coronavirus, the steps society has taken to mitigate the virus has significantly affected them. School closures, cancelled exams, outdoor activities and socialising are key parts to life as a young person in Scotland, all of which have been drastically changed for over a year.

We know there is a growing risk that young people will feel the effects of this pandemic for years to come and sadly they are already being described in the media as the ‘Coronavirus Generation1’. Feedback from our youth groups and direct work with young people tells us that lockdown and our phased exit from this has affected their lives now, increased the prevalence of mental health issues and caused generalised anxiety about what the future holds, both in the coming months and in later years.

Covid has not been good for me with all the family stuck in the house together. There have been lots of arguments. I felt horrible as I had to bottle stuff up because I couldn’t go out with my friends. I talk to my friends a lot to get things off my chest and couldn’t do that. It was a horrible time. Young person in Youth Scotland focus group

How we are making a difference

We believe that community-based youth work should be an important component in our national efforts to support young people through the rest of this crisis and into the future, as they navigate the unknown complexities which we will all face.

To achieve that, our shared ambition is that in 3-5 years there will be:

  • Youth workers in every one of our community-based member groups who are Mental Health Champions.
  • Youth workers across Scotland who have developed their knowledge and skills beyond the Foundation level through a staged development pathway.
  • Young people in youth groups in every local authority in Scotland who are trained Peer Mentors.

Where we are

In 2021, the first year of the programme, we are working with Place2Be to establish our first three cohorts of Mental Health Champions, using Place2Be’s Mental Health Champions (MHC) Foundation course in mental health awareness (bespoke to youth workers).

Additionally, we are supporting our first four cohorts through Place2Be’s Peer Mentoring training programme, also in 2021.

How can I get involved?

We’re glad you asked! The programme is in a pilot stage currently, while we work closely with the initial cohorts to fine-tune the format and approaches. If you are interested in participating in the near future, get in touch at the details below.

1 Sky News, 2020

To ask a question or find out more information, please drop Mo Colvin an email at: mo.colvin@youthscotland.org.uk

For everyone involved in community based youth work. Find out more about what we do and apply for membership.