It’s a big September for our young people, as most of them return to school after six months away.
We know it’s been a very strange time of change, anxieties, lack of routine and missing friends. For those in year 11 and 13, getting their exam results and making decisions about what to do next has been very stressful and chaotic, and Year 10 and 12 are also facing uncertainty about what will happen with their exams next year.
This article by YoungMinds sums up the feelings of many young people we know. In it, Bethany, 15, says: “I think young people will need more mental health support after lockdown because it’s been a long time to spend by yourself, without the support of your friends and classmates, and a lot of us are feeling the effects.”
Berkshire schools are aware of the extra time and space that their students will need to process everything that’s going on, and have asked us to help. Here’s what we’re doing this September:
Mind the Gap
We’re really pleased that our local secondary schools have made it possible for us to come in and run Mind the Gap with the new Year 7 students. The Soulscape team will be there in the very first week of term to support the Year 7s, who are making a huge change in the middle of so much change. We’ll help them settle into their new schools, reducing the anxiety level they may feel.
For the first time, we have trained up some amazing volunteer mentors to work with young people in schools. They will meet with their mentees once a week for a year, building up a helpful relationship of trust, making space for them to reflect on everything that’s happened, how they’re feeling now, and whatever else they would like to talk about.
We’re setting up another new project with The Emmbrook School this term. The Lounge will be a relaxed, safe space for any student to come and chat with our trained volunteers during the lunch hour. It’s great to be helping the school create a space for students to take time out, prioritise their emotional and mental wellbeing and reflect on how they’re doing.
We’re excited, and we’ll let you know how it’s all going! If you would like to help with the costs of offering young people this extra support, your donations would be really valuable – you can make a donation right here.