AS this year’s World Mental Health Day approaches, a member of Greater Manchester’s Youth Task Force has shared a blog post to help those who may also be struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Olivia is a member of the Youth Advisory Group, which forms part of the Youth Task Force led by Diane Modahl following her appointment as Task Force Chair by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, back in June.
In Olivia’s blog she shares how graduating from university during a pandemic has affected her mental wellbeing and prevented her from gaining employment. Olivia’s post offers advice and guidance to others who are also struggling as we continue to work and live through the COVID-19 crisis.
Read Olivia’s blog on GMCA’s website.
Greater Manchester’s Youth Task Force is working to protect the futures of 11 to 30-year-olds across Greater Manchester who have been impacted by COVID-19, allowing them to feel positive in what is a challenging and difficult time for many.
The work of the Task Force involves the development and delivery of a Guarantee for young people focusing on four key areas identified by young people during consultation in the summer: keeping connected, staying well, making effective transitions, and removing economic inequalities.
Chair of Greater Manchester’s Youth Task Force, Diane Modahl, said: “Throughout the process of listening to young people as part of the Young Person’s Guarantee, many young people have told us they are struggling now more than ever.
“We are here to make a positive difference as a result of the pandemic and get the support they need quickly – allowing young people to feel optimistic in what is a challenging and difficult time for many.
“If you are struggling at this time please speak out and ask for help – there’s lots of information and support on offer in Greater Manchester which the Youth Task Force and Youth Advisory Group will be working hard to highlight and signpost people to over the coming months.”
Tying in with this work to help young people in Greater Manchester The Prince’s Trust has just announced a new partnership with Kooth, who will pilot its online counselling and emotional wellbeing service to support young people aged 11 to 25 who turn to the Trust for support in the city-region, who may need help improving their mental health and wellbeing.
Recent data from Kooth found that the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the mental health of young people across England. There has been a threefold increase in the number of young people presenting with issues around sadness, a 53 per cent increase in young people presenting with anxiety/stress issues and one in five young people are presenting with issues concerning family relationships.
Dr Sandeep Ranote, Medical Executive Lead for Mental Health, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We have all been living through a very challenging time and the coronavirus has undoubtedly affected all of our stress and anxiety levels to some degree.
“However, the worries and pressures created by the virus have been especially challenging for children and young people. Kooth helps children and young people to look after their mental health and provides a safe space to get support and advice from their peers. While the online service existed before April, it was expanded during the pandemic. It is welcome news that with the involvement of The Prince’s Trust it will be used by even more young people.”
Kooth forms part of a wider selection of online support on offer in Greater Manchester – that is helping people to stay well and reducing the need for them to attend GP practices or hospitals. The support is available for those with existing mental health issues, as well as anyone who may be struggling due to social distancing and self-isolation restrictions.
Matt Pilling, Head of Operations for The Prince’s Trust Greater Manchester, said: “Many of the young people we support at The Prince’s Trust are struggling with their wellbeing and mental health as they adjust to our ‘new normal’, so we’re thrilled to be partnering with Kooth alongside GMCA as part of the Future Workforce Fund, which will ensure many more young people in Greater Manchester get the support they need.
“Our research with YouGov, Young People in Lockdown, found that 43 per cent of young people say their anxiety levels have increased due to the pandemic and a third say they are overwhelmed by feelings of panic and anxiety on a daily basis. Kooth will help these overwhelmed people in Greater Manchester through this period of transition by bolstering their self-esteem and confidence levels - this is a crucial step towards ensuring a brighter future for young people.”
To find out more about this piece of work please visit The Prince’s Trust website.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We are now more than six months into lockdown and I want to take this opportunity to remind the people of Greater Manchester that support is there for those who may be struggling as we continue to work and live alongside COVID-19. Mental health problems can affect anyone at any time and the challenges that the pandemic has brought with it are very real and devastating for many, with more people than ever unemployed and struggling in other ways.
“As we approach October 10 – World Mental Health Day – please do continue to look after yourself and each other. If you aren’t feeling great it’s vital to reach out to someone – whether that be a friend, colleague, family member or available services such as Shout or the Samaritans, and for our young people Kooth is a fantastic service with help on offer whatever time of the day or year it is.”
You can find more information and support on offer:
Greater Manchester Mental Health helpline - 0800 953 0285 (open 24/7)
Samaritans - 116 123
Article Published: 08/10/2020 17:35 PM