Article by Joanna Akram, City Lit Teacher Coordinator for Care, Support and Community
The current climate has affected many young people across the world. In the U.K, the mental health of young people has been affected by the closure of many youth services. On top of this, young people are often left without schooling for days or weeks, due to positive covid-19 cases in schools.
Ellen Townsend, with the association for child and adolescent mental health, claims this is a global disaster in the making and we need to be doing more to protect the mental health of our children and young people. She says, “Evidence increasingly shows that the lockdown has had a profound influence on the education, well‐being and mental health of many of our youngsters – and this impact will be long term, lasting many, many years.”
Humans are social creatures and loneliness has affected many of us during the last year. Young people are no exception to this, according to the University of Edinburgh there was a three times increase in the number of young people experiencing loneliness during the lockdown period. Some of the reasons young people may be more susceptible to loneliness include a fear of being judged, and a difficulty in explaining to others how they feel. Social media also plays a role in loneliness as it can give young people unrealistic expectations of how life should be.
Young people across the world in countries such as the U.K, China, Spain and Slovenia have reported an increase in stress at this present time. For many young people, home-schooling provided pressure and stress which they had not experienced before. Not only has it been a challenge for students with additional needs, but those who had limited access to IT resources were also left behind.
What can we do?
Mentoring a young person can help young people as they go through this challenging period. Including, dealing with stressful changes at home or transitioning to adulthood. Mentoring provides a close, healthy, supportive relationship that has mutual benefits to the mentor and mentee. Providing a young person with a safe space to talk can help them with their thoughts and feelings and provide them with motivation to make changes.
However, it is important that mentors are trained and understand the theory and process of mentoring, including how to create professional boundaries and develop effective communication skills.
Please check out our range of Social Care and Support Courses online and in London here, including our new course Mentoring a young person ABC/CERTA quals.
Reach Out is one organisation that has seen the benefits of mentoring for young people at this time and they have also adapted to provide mentoring to young people online.
The NHS have also created a range of videos to support young people and their carers.