The importance of young people having a safe space to discuss their mental health

May 15th, 2024

We work with young people across the city region, supporting those who have been through challenging or difficult situations in their life.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, GMYN want to promote the importance of young people having a safe space to talk about their mental health.

NHS waiting lists are dangerously long for young people to access mental health support. Statutory provision often cannot provide the additional holistic support needed to move young people to a positive situation long term, as stated by the Children’s Commissioner for England.

Over the last 12 months, we have had 83 new people register for our mental health support, an increase of over 22% from the previous year. 

For many young people, GMYN provides the only positive, informal relationship with a trusted adult. This is true for many of the care experienced young people we support through our programmes.

Within each one of GMYN’s programmes, we offer 1:1 sessions with young people to discuss whatever is on their mind and work towards a goal for them to achieve.

Anna Walters, one of GMYN’s Programme Coordinators, is currently working with care experienced young people aged 16-25 in Tameside.

Anna organises group sessions for these young people that range from cooking through to work readiness, ensuring life skills are learnt in a fun and accessible way. She is also there for the young people to contact if they need her support away from the group.

Anna says: “There are a lot of young people that I see regularly, as and when they need support or want to speak to me. Often young people come to me before their social worker or if they’re in between personal advisors. 

“Care-experienced young people will be supported by their local authority until at least 21 years old, but often support reduces from this point on. However GMYN can support them until their 26th birthday, so we can still be there for young people and be able to continue that support they need.

“Sometimes this consists of emotional support, other times this is more focused around goal setting or budgeting. We try to set goals around an aspect of their life that they’re struggling with so that we can build on this success further.

“GMYN staff often work as the link between a young person and their worker, and we can facilitate any support they need they need in the meantime.”

GMYN is able to signpost and refer young people for mental health support. We also provide a safe space for every young person needing our help. We can provide emotional support through opportunities for young people to talk through their problems. 

GMYN does this by working in a young person-centred way, creating positive relationships and being flexible to meet their needs.

For more information about the mental health support that GMYN provides for young people, please see here.

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