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Your Resilience Impact: How West Lothian Council supports young people’s mental health

Your Resilience shapes a promising post-pandemic future for young people through building resilience, coping with demands and learning from setbacks.

West Lothian Council’s Employability team, in collaboration with Change Mental Health, implemented the Your Resilience programme to address the mental health needs of young people in the community, which is particularly crucial for those facing challenges in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

The Employability team from West Lothian Council sought the expertise of Change Mental Health to provide practical strategies for young people who have left school and are not in employment or full-time education. Some young people have had a negative experience with the education system due to the impact of the pandemic. The West Lothian Council’s Skills Training Programme focuses on providing young people with employability skills. Prior to working with us, they did not have a targeted intervention for supporting young people’s mental health.

Lynne Wishart, Skills Training Programme Officer at West Lothian Council, said: 

“So many of our young people who have started our programme since the pandemic have presented with a lot more mental health issues, and due to the demand, there is a lack of resources and services available to help. 

“We felt the training offered by Change Mental Health would help the young people gain some basic self-help strategies that would allow them to build on their resilience to cope with day-to-day demands, issues or situations.

The training offered by Change Mental Health aimed to help young people build resilience, cope with day-to-day demands and learn from setbacks.

Our team delivered the Your Resilience programme, which consisted of seven topics that included resilience, anxiety, low mood and depression, friendships, social pressures, decision-making about the future and work/life balance.

The young participants reported immediate benefits from the programme, including finding breathing exercises effective in managing anxiety. Tasks related to time management and multitasking provided valuable insights, emphasising the importance of focusing on one task at a time.

One young person participating in the workshop said: “I enjoyed how helpful the advice on controlling anxiety was. My favourite was the one where we had to trace our fingers following the breathing patterns.”

Drawing tasks were particularly popular, serving as relaxing activities and distractions from intrusive thoughts. The workshops equipped the young people with simple yet effective strategies for coping with different situations.

Over the 7 weeks, all the young people agreed there was something they could take away and use to help them. For example, they became:

  • more aware of their resilience
  • more confident in their understanding of mental health
  • better equipped to support their family and friends

The West Lothian Council’s Employability team found the weekly reflections and planning sessions beneficial, creating a space to discuss what went well, potential improvements and collaborative planning for subsequent sessions.  

“I found the resilience training very useful and full of tools which can be of good use for young people. I really enjoyed seeing them respond to the different scenarios and the helpful solutions they presented.  

“I will use these scenarios in future sessions. I enjoyed learning about the many different ways to build and strengthen one’s resilience and how this can be used to realise one’s potential. These tools and lessons will be put to good use in our delivery moving forward.” 

One of the West Lothian Council’s Employability team members

They have all expressed a sense of personal growth through active participation in different sessions. They found the techniques beneficial for their wellbeing and envisioned incorporating these learned strategies into their future interactions with young people and future programmes. The intention is to deliver smaller resilience sessions to positively impact the mental health of up to 50 young people annually.

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Want to find out more about young people’s mental health resilience and the support we deliver to schools, colleges and youth centres across Scotland?

If you need further information about Young People’s Programmes or want to enquire about online training, resources or how we can help your school or college, contact our team.

Do you have any more questions about the support Change Mental Health delivers across communities in Scotland? Contact our Advice and Support Service.

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