This blog was written by Lissy Chance from Young Gloucestershire for Mental Health Week.
Here at Young Gloucestershire, building positive mental well-being is embedded in the work we do and our approach to supporting young people.
We understand that key to developing positive wellbeing is the opportunity for young people to receive appropriate support from a trusted adult, build positive relationships and have a safe place where they feel comfortable. We believe all young people can improve their mental health and well-being, and we aim to instill confidence and self-belief in the young people we work with so they are empowered to raise their aspirations and build bright futures.
Our approach puts young people at the heart. This means we work alongside young people to empower them to make positive life choices that they understand and are confident in, with no judgement or predetermined agenda. The respect is mutual, enabling strong, positive relationships to be formed.
We work to inspire and motivate young people whilst also providing practical and therapeutic support – the right support and at the right time. Along with our work naturally helping to improve mental health, we also work specifically with mental health needs, providing therapeutic services for young people such as therapeutic arts, counselling and even a therapy dog!
Positive mental health and wellbeing is a core element of the EmpowHER programme we run in schools with young women and girls who are facing challenges in their lives. Throughout our twelve-week delivery model, mental health, wellbeing and resilience are embedded into sessions to help young women and girls build a better understanding of themselves and how to support others who may be having difficulties.
Young women and girls also build on their learning by leading social action projects on an issue they care about. Having delivered to several groups already, we’ve seen how this has improved personal wellbeing by fostering a sense of pride and affirmation in supporting others and/or acting on a cause they believe in. Through our sister charity, Infobuzz, girls chose specifically to champion positive mental health and wellbeing with their social action by giving out hearts and flowers with positive messages to their classmates. They also ran workshops with them where they developed emotional wellbeing toolkits. The toolkits included suggestions to support them when they’re feeling low and needed a pick me up, as well as signposting information on local mental health services.
These examples show that youth work is critical to helping young people improve their social capabilities and well-being. As youth workers we know that young people are worth it but sometimes they need some help to realise it too!
To find out more about the EmpowHER programme, click here.
We’re excited to announce the new UK Youth movement. For more information and to see how you can get involved, click here.