The Youth Information in Schools Project, part of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Youth Work Team, has won in the Health & Wellbeing category at YouthLink Scotland’s National Youth Work Awards, held on Wednesday 21 June.
The Youth Information in Schools Project is a partnership project delivered between Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Youth Work Service and Educational Psychology, where youth information workers deliver low level mental health support to young people aged 12–18 across all 16 local authority secondary schools through one-to-one and group work programmes – using a youth work approach.
The low level psychological support provided through the project aims to help young people learn strategies that can help them to cope with the challenges they are encountering in their lives. This is often a first point of contact for young people who are going through difficulties and depending on their needs, can lead to them being referred for more specialist support. However, after these sessions, the young people have often developed the skills and coping strategies to deal with the challenges they are facing.
Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the council’s Communities Committee said: “The Youth Information in Schools Project is a very worthy winner of this national award. The staff are dedicated and passionate about the work that they do, and they have made a significant impact on hundreds of young people’s lives in our region since 2020. Over 500 young people are provided support through this service each year and this includes support to address the significant impact on the emotional and mental wellbeing of young people caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The impact of this project on the young people who access it is huge. They have said that through taking part, they feel a lot happier in themselves and are able to use the skills to develop independence in problem solving and making decisions.”
Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of Communities Committee added: “With the current mental health crisis for young people, this project is critical in supporting our young people’s health and wellbeing and gives them a helping hand when they need it. Interventions provided through the project give the right support at the right time for the individual young person, and ultimately prevented things escalating to a crisis level that need more formal interventions.
“This innovative way of supporting young people’s mental health further demonstrates that youth work plays a vital role in supporting the health and wellbeing of our young people. We are extremely proud of all those involved in the planning and delivery of this project. Thank you for all you do to support the young people in our region.”