Walking with our Young People
A Mental Health project in the Clifton Diocese
The Mental Health Foundation (2017) reported that 10% of children and young people have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet 70% of children and young people who experience mental health problems have not had the appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. Young Minds note that this equates to 3 children in every classroom. There are 35,000 children and young people in a total of 72 schools and colleges in the Clifton Diocese. We have 4 University Chaplaincies and many parishes that work with their young people. We also want to ensure that the adults that engage with our young people are also aware of their own mental health wellbeing.(www.youngminds.org.uk 2017)
In 2018 Fr Christopher Whitehead applied to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales’ Mental Health Project small grants scheme. We were awarded £4,400 for our ‘Walking with young people’ project. The Bishops’ Conference Mental Health project originates from the ‘Day for Life’ celebrated annually by the Church. This project contributes to our Diocesan celebrations in June 2018.
With this funding, we are holding two 2-day training courses, again with Mental Health First Aid for England. We are inviting School Chaplains and pastoral leads for the first course looking at Mental Health in a formal education setting. The second 2-day course is aimed at Parish Youth Workers and Confirmation Catechists and will enable them to spot the signs of poor mental health, how to support those young people and where to sign-post them for extra support and care. The final 1-day course is aimed at those working in Higher Education Chaplaincy. This is a bespoke course highlight the separate issues encountered by students and those who work with them.
Our project take place in June 2018 with a simple questionnaire sent to participants before-hand to assess their level of understanding around the Mental Health of young people and their own confidence is supporting young people.
To follow-up our work we will be assessing the impact of the project by asking each participant to articulate a story of a young person who they have encountered and how their training has given them the tools and confidence to support them.