YMCA DownsLink Group Launch Online Service to Help Young People in Sussex Find Wellbeing and Mental Health Advice and Support.
Do you know a young person that is struggling with their wellbeing or mental health? Perhaps the pressure and anxiety, created by COVID-19, has exacerbated underlying issues. e-wellbeing, is a new service, delivered by YMCA DownsLink Group, for young people in Sussex. It provides advice, support and a clear pathway to local services for any young person in need.
YMCA DownsLink Group, one of the South East’s biggest providers of counselling services (YMCA Dialogue), has been developing e-wellbeing for over a year. However, due to the mental health impact of COVID-19, the team at YMCA Dialogue have worked around the clock to bring forward the launch date. Following a successful ‘soft launch’ phase, the service is now being promoted via an awareness campaign to reach the young people who may need it. YMCA DownsLink Group have also received funding by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, alongside support from the NHS Sustainability & Transformation Plan, to bring forward the launch date and ensure young people across Sussex can get the help they need.
e-wellbeing is different to other websites, in that it poses a series of questions to help guide young people to the appropriate content. It provides young people with self-help guidance and information about different aspects of mental health difficulties and supports them to make the decision about whether they may need help from a professional service. Crucially, they will then be connected with information about services in their local area.
Cat Pritchard, Wellbeing and Therapeutic Services Manager & Digital Lead, YMCA DownsLink Group, explains how the new service will work and why it is different to other ‘wellbeing’ websites:
“Mental health systems and pathways are often complicated and many young people, parents & carers, and professionals remark that they are difficult to navigate. This website works to simplify the process of accessing the right help, in the right place, at the right time.
Local services have worked incredibly hard to adapt their offers so they can continue to meet the needs of young people remotely. Now, more than ever, it’s so important that young people know there is support available to them and that there are lots of different ways they can help themselves and their peers.”
It is expected that e-wellbeing will have a range of impacts, including supporting more young people to develop skills to improve their mental health or maintain positive mental health, whist providing faster access to the right service for children and young people. It should also ensure higher rates of appropriate referrals to existing mental health services, and, in doing, should reduce pressure on frontline services, including GP surgeries and A&E.
Commenting on the launch of the new website, Dr Rick Fraser, Chief Medical Officer at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides specialist mental health services to people of all ages in Sussex, said:
“We are living in a time of unprecedented change around COVID-19, a time when just about every part of our lives seem very different to how they were only a few weeks ago and a time when our usual sources of support, communication and connecting may not be there. For young people this can lead to feeling isolated, frightened and stressed which can lead to mental ill health problems. What I like about the digital platform for young people is that it provides a virtual place for young people to access good quality information, support and link with others in a way that is safe and managed. This is an innovation that works in COVID-19 times but should also work well in times beyond. I look forward to seeing how this develops.”
e-wellbeing has been developed by the team YMCA Dialogue, part of YMCA DownsLink Group. YMCA Dialogue has been running for over twenty years, and provides a range of counselling services for children, young people and families. It is the largest provider of school counselling in Brighton & Hove, and, in 2019, it provided therapeutic services to over 3,500 people in schools and communities across Sussex and Surrey. e-wellbeing will extend the reach of their service and enable more children and young people to access mental health advice, support and professional services using digital solutions.