A new digital resource to support young adults experiencing mental health issues in the Edinburgh area is being launched with funding from the Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation.
It comes as long waiting times, inconsistent service provision and other barriers have been raised as issues needing to be addressed around the provision of mental health services for children and young people in Scotland.
Scottish charity Bright Light is creating the digital life toolkit to build on its work supporting young people to develop confidence, understand themselves and help them overcome life’s challenges. Young people will be able to access resources and information at the click of a button or touch of a screen when they are experiencing stress, anxiety or other mental health worries or pressures.
It’s a way of encouraging young people to reach out for help, when they may find meeting face-to-face with a counsellor difficult and challenging. Using their phones, laptops or tablets they will be able to access relevant information when and wherever they need it.
The toolbox is part of the charity’s wider ‘Selfie project’ in Edinburgh where a life coach and young person assistant life coach will work with young people in groups and individually to develop confidence, teach practical skills, understand themselves and others important to them, enabling them to grow and thrive and overcome challenges now and in the future.
A task force set up to improve mental health services for children and young people in Scotland recognised waiting times to access specialist services had become unacceptable; there were gaps in community services to support those with milder mental health problems; and poor provision of out of hours or crisis support. In December the task force recommended cutting waiting times to see specialists by a third.
Bright Light chief executive officer Julie Hogg-Weld said: “So many are waiting on long lists for help with mental health and other key issues. When feeling suicidal and desperate it’s inappropriate to sit on a waiting list. With the support of Aberdeen Standard Investments’ Charitable Foundation, we are able to develop a digital toolkit that young people can use to manage and strengthen their own mental health. This is especially good for young people where meeting one-to-one with a counsellor for support is extremely challenging, never mind discussing issues they have. Digital information will help them begin to manage things for themselves with ours tools and help. We aim to roll this model out across Scotland once piloted."
Claire Drummond, head of charitable giving for Aberdeen Standard Investments added: “The digital toolbox will provide access to relevant information in a format familiar to and comfortable for young people to use. Bright Light’s approach should encourage young people to look into how they can take care of themselves and nurture mental wellbeing.”
The toolbox resource will be promoted through social media platforms so young people can begin to manage challenges for themselves with support tools and help. The pilot will operate in the Edinburgh area and will be monitored and reviewed, with the aim of rolling out the model across Scotland.
Bright Light helps people and families with issues having often reached crisis point and relationship breakdown is a reality. It seeks to support each person and family to identify and build on their strengths so they are more able to cope now and in the future. More details are available from its website www.bright-light.org.uk
The Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. The Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact. It encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects.