Earlier this month two very significant Sussex agencies published this website for many of the young people in our area to use which is designed to help their mental wellbeing. There is a very good reason for this to have happened at any time although part of the reason for publicising it, is that this week is the mental health week for our nation. However as this article explains a recent survey of 1,022 young people aged 16-25 by the Prince’s Trust has discovered that more than 40% of them felt that Covid-19 has increased their feelings of panic and anxiety. A further 32% feel “overwhelmed” by feelings of panic and anxiety on a daily basis while 69% feel like their life is “on hold”. The article goes on to identify that more than a quarter of young people (29% of them) feel their future career prospects have already been damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and 46% say that finding a job now feels “impossible”. Almost half worry it will be harder than ever to get a job once lockdown measures are lifted. Along with the mental health week in our nation, at the same time there are debates going on in public about school provision in the light of COVID-19. We clearly need to ensure that all children from 0 to 25 are being well supported and this website covers a large proportion of that need and fully covers the age group that Princes Trust questioned.
One of the two agencies that formed the website is a charity called YMCA Downslink, the other is Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which is the mental health trust across Sussex. Together these two organisations provide CAMHS services across Sussex. The website provides self-help information, handy toolkits and a directory of local services and COVID-19 advice which is so important at the present time. I saw the reference to the website on twitter from Jo Shiner who is the Deputy Chief Constable for Sussex Police and as she explains in her tweet, she has recently been appointed as the national lead for children and young people within the senior police structure. As she wrote “this is such a welcome initiative locally and one that @sussex_police fully support. Please re tweet and share as much as you can. Well done @withoutstigma”.
I have the privilege to work with Jo Shiner due to my involvement in the Sussex Police Independent Advisory Group and it is really useful for our young people in Sussex to have a senior Chief Officer with such a national responsibility. I have also worked with Chas Walker who is the CEO of Downslink YMCA which is a charity I chaired for a decade and and I have also had the opportunity to have contact with Sam Allen who is the CE of the Partnership Trust and in the past when I was Chair of the YMCA I had discussions with Sam’s predecessor over CAMHS. I know that all of these three senior people have got really good attitudes to supporting young people and assisting all people to strengthen their mental health. I am delighted to promote this website.