A chance to share what we know about mental health & wellbeing
in K & M.
Welcome to the second K & M Mental Health & Wellbeing E Bulletin. This month a closer look at the support for families and young people.
COVID-19 presents a rapidly changing situation where different pressures, including changes to children and young people’s social lives, daily routines, and access to education as well as challenges associated with families spending extended periods at home, will arise for children, young people and their families over time. In this bulletin we would like to share with you some of the advice and support out there for young people and families. To access the full bulletin, please click here.
Do you know a local business that could offer services to carers?
Aberdeenshire Council’s and Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s approach to supporting carers is being boosted by local hospitality providers.
A pilot ‘Respitality’ project which began in central Aberdeenshire towards the end of last year sees local businesses asked if they would like to support the wellbeing of both young people and adults who have a caring role by offering short breaks, spa treatments, leisure passes, dining experiences and a range of other offerings either free of charge or at a discounted rate.
Similar projects elsewhere in Scotland have proven to be very successful and a new respitality project worker commissioned by the Council and employed by leading social care charity Quarriers been charged with making links with local businesses keen to participate.
Having secured four three-month gym memberships as the first donation for the project, respitality support worker Ann Brodie explained: “I recently approached Energie Fitness in Inverurie to see if they would like to be the first gifter for the project. They were really open to the idea of respitality and how a donation from their business could help to improve a carer’s health and wellbeing. Their gym promotes a friendly, warm atmosphere and their knowledgeable staff support people to achieve their personal goals so it’s just a perfect fit. They’re delighted to be giving back to the community at the same time as promoting health and fitness and I hope it will encourage other businesses to consider taking part too.”
The Scottish Government recognises the need for all those who have a caring role to benefit from regular opportunities for respite to support their own wellbeing, and in turn the wellbeing of those they are caring for. As such, national targets have been set for increasing the number of opportunities available in different local areas, and additional funding has been provided.
Quarriers are already commissioned by the Council to provide support services to carers, and this has brought about an expansion of their existing contract. While this project will see them being able to look into respite options, their family wellbeing workers can also assess carers’ needs and provide information, advice and signposting; offer 1:1 and group support for carers; deliver training on topics such as moving and handling or epilepsy awareness; and run events. They can also help with accessing self-directed support budgets so carers get what they need to make caring easier.
Chair of the Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee, Cllr Gillian Owen commented: “We recognise that any carer needs breathing space and our approach is about enabling that, particularly when we’re talking about young carers’ who also have their education and personal and social development to think about. Support comes in many forms and we hope that this respitality project will inspire local businesses to lend a hand in offering some much needed VIP treatment.”
Vice Chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “Changing the perception of what it means to be a carer is also very important to us. Not all carers are looking after those with a physical disability, for example, and their circumstances are very wide ranging. Quarriers focus on understanding your caring role and then working with you to find out how we can support you to continue that important role.”
Aberdeenshire Council has responsibility for providing social care services to young people (up to 18 years of age) while Aberdeenshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership coordinates provision for adults.
A Young Carer Strategy was introduced by the Council in 2018 in line with the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 and set out a number of ambitious plans to make a difference, including the Respitality project. A Young Carers Statement is now provided to all young carers who request one detailing any need for additional support in helping to ensure their wellbeing.
The overall number of young carers receiving support in Aberdeenshire has increased since the strategy was implemented, and Quarriers are typically supporting around 200 young people at any one time. As part of the wider strategy, council officers have also been involving young carers directly in developing a suite of information to support others in similar circumstances.
Adult carers are supported with an Adult Carers Support Plan. For further information and advice, any carer (regardless of their age) can contact Quarriers. They are commissioned to deliver support in this area and will begin by asking if you wish to register with the service.
The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland (CYPCS) are encouraging us to celebrate rights by telling 7-word stories.
To celebrate CYPCS want everyone to talk about why children’s rights matter, in a way that means people of all ages can take part. So they’re asking you to send 7 word stories about the human rights of children and young people. #7WordStory #CRC30
Further information here.
This report presents some initial findings about the lives of 12-year-old children living in Scotland. It uses data collected from Birth Cohort 1 (BC1) of the Growing Up in Scotland study (GUS). GUS is an important longitudinal research project aimed at tracking the lives of Scottish children from birth, through their childhood, into adolescence and beyond. The study is funded by the Scottish Government and carried out by ScotCen Social Research.
BC1 is comprised of a nationally representative sample of 5217 children living in Scotland when they were 10 months old and who were born between June 2004 and May 2005. This report draws on data collected from 3419 families in 2017/18 when the children were aged 12 and most were in the second term of their first year at secondary school. Both data from interviews with parents and children themselves is used.
The report covers, in brief, several varied aspects of children’s lives including:
- Experience of school and educational aspirations
- Relationships with parents and peers
- Social media and use of the internet
- Involvement in risky behaviour
- Healthy weight and perceptions of body weight
- Life satisfaction
For each of these areas, the experiences of boys and girls are compared. Some comparisons are also made between children living in the most and least deprived areas in Scotland and also between children whose parents have different educational qualifications. Relationships between some of the types of experiences themselves are also explored. Only differences which were statistically significant at the 95% level are commented on in the text.
More information about the study is available on the Growing up in Scotland website.
The Scottish Government announced it was bringing forward a new Scottish Child Payment, worth £10 per week per eligible child under six, with the aim of lifting 30,000 children out of poverty by 2023-24. COSLA welcomed the news. In addition, a new Access to Childcare Fund will establish new projects across Scotland to deliver more affordable out-of-school care for low income families over a two-year period starting in April 2020.
Funding has also been confirmed for councils and charities to give children from low income families meals and a place to play during the school holidays. Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) will deliver this ‘Food and Fun’ programme locally working in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, AFC Community Trust, Sport Aberdeen and others. (Source: Scot Gov)
China was the Global Nutrition Report’s star performer. It was one of only two countries (the other being South Korea) that posted levels of stunting, women’s anaemia and overweight adults that were all below indications of a very serious public health risk.
China’s numbers are staggering. In the past 10 years GDP per capita has tripled, mortality rates for the under-fives have declined from 37 per 1,000 to 14, and the percentage of the under-fives who are short for their age has declined from 22% to 9%.
But how long will China remain the star performer?
Of great concern in the future are the rapid increases in overweight and obesity in China. While the rates of overweight adults in China are less than half the rates of the UK (and the rates of obesity are about a fifth of the UK’s), the rates for children less than 20 years of age are much closer.
It is this body-mass time bomb that is the most worrying aspect of China’s nutrition status. High body-mass is a risk factor for a range of diseases such as diabetes and some forms of heart disease.
Will we see UK–level rates of obesity in these adults in China in 15 years’ time?
But it is not too late. China has the opportunity and the means to show the rest of the world how to slow and reverse the apparent tsunami of obesity. It has the opportunity because the problem is not yet unmanageable and its economy is strong. This generates policy possibilities. It has the means, because of the strong ability of the state to shape the environment to make healthy choices easier and more likely.
And make no mistake about it – the world needs China to succeed. Obese people tend to consume more of the types of foods that have a higher carbon footprint such as meat, sugar and dairy. There are diets – vegetarian, Mediterranean and pescetarian for example – that are healthier for the planet and for humans. China needs to draw on traditional eating habits and move towards its own 21st century version of a healthier diet – we all have a stake in that.
If you haven’t already seen them, have a look at these animations. Talented students from the London College of Communication interpreted children’s experiences of poverty and made some very powerful short films. They show clearly why we’re needed, and why your support is so important.
Child Poverty Action Group
New research of UK teenagers has revealed that an overwhelming majority (83%) would like work experience to be made a compulsory part of the school curriculum.
The research by the Career Colleges Trust also found that more than two thirds (67%) of today’s teenagers believe work experience is beneficial for finding employment, seeing what working in a certain sector is like (63%) and more than half (56%) believe it allows you to learn valuable skills that are not taught in the classroom.
Today in Scotland, the work experience concept remains in place and there is an expectation that all pupils will have the opportunity to participate. For most mainstream secondary schools this takes the form of a one week work placement organised during a pupil’s 4th year.
So why is work experience such a good thing?
In at number one: young people are more likely to be successful in their job hunt if they have done some good work experience. Fact.
Want some evidence? Well, over half of the graduate recruiters that took part in a recent research study by Highfliers said that, “graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.”
If you haven’t got a clue what career you want to do, work experience is a perfect way to sample all the career options out there. It’s a way of exploring different jobs without actually committing to anything. You can dip your toe in the water without taking the full plunge.
It’s the best way to get a real sense of your chosen industry. You’ll get to speak to employees and ask them questions. You won’t know what it’s like until you get closer to the action.
Doing work experience shows passion and interest. Evidence that you have done work experience shows the employer that you are motivated to get into a chosen career and that you’ve done your homework.
If you’re floundering about and frankly aren’t that bothered about your career, work experience might just be the kick up the backside you need. If you do a variety of different work placements, you might find something you are passionate about and get motivated.
Work experience gently introduces you to the world of work. You get to learn the dos and don’ts, get work place savvy and learn to navigate your way through the jungle of office politics. Vitally, it’ll give you an idea of the skills you might need to thrive in the workplace.
It’ll help you identify your own skills and perhaps even highlight the areas that you might want to work on.
You might wow them so much that you’ll manage to wrangle yourself a job!
It’s all about networking. It’ll help you build up contacts and, you never know, they might even give you a heads up about a future job or recommend you to another company.
And yes, work experience does give you something to put on your CV!
You’re not supposed to feel lonely while you’re young, but the truth is it’s a bigger concern among young people than any other age group.
In recent years youth loneliness and isolation has been increasingly identified as a matter of significant public concern. Research identifies that one in three young people suffer from loneliness (Red Cross, Co-op, Kantar, 2016) and 65% of 16-25 years old reporting feeling loneliness at times and 32% feeling lonely “often” or “all the time” (Majoribanks and Bradley, 2017).
“Loneliness is a recognised problem among the elderly – there are day centres and charities to help them,” says Sam Challis, an information manager at the mental health charity Mind, “but when young people reach 21 they’re too old for youth services.”
But what can young people do to combat loneliness?
While meditation techniques such as mindfulness and apps such as Headspace are trendy solutions frequently recommended for a range of mental health problems, they’re not necessarily helpful for loneliness, as they actively encourage us to dwell alone on our thoughts. You’re be better off addressing the underlying causes of being lonely first – what’s stopping you going out and seeing people?
Social media can be helpful. Helplines can also reduce loneliness, at least in the short term. One in four men who call the Samaritans mention loneliness or isolation, and Get Connected is a free confidential helpline for young people, where they can seek help with emotional and mental health issues often linked to loneliness. There are also support services on websites such as Mind’s that can remind you you’re not alone. Speak to your employer, value the interactions you have in the workplace. Counselling can be helpful. The BACP website allows you to search for counsellors in your area. “A problem aired is a problem shared and sometimes you need to talk to someone impartial and independent of your friends and family.
If recent research is to be believed, loneliness is killing the elderly and, with an ageing population, we should aim to reduce our isolation before it is too late. “Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting lonelier,” says Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive of Relate, in a new report. “But much of this rests on laying the foundations to good-quality relationships earlier in life.”
A new grassroots movement to challenge sexism, reduce mental health stigma, and save the lives of young women across the world has kicked off in Scotland.
Young women are the highest-risk group for mental illness in the UK. Research estimates 46% of young women between 11 and 21 years old have sought out treatment for mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
Research has shown that psychological distress amongst young women is linked to the growing pressures that this group faces: pressures to look beautiful and thin in an age of ‘airbrushing’; social media pressures; stress at school and university; and an increase in sexual harassment. Very often, these pressures lead to low self-esteem and body image problems, with evidence suggesting that young girls start to worry about their body image from the age of 11.
Existing magazines targeting young women can compound these problems with picture perfect models gracing every page. Fearless Femme sets about challenging these cultural norms by empowering young women to overcome stress and other mental health challenges through its new online magazine and growing community of ‘rebelles’, as well as its research and campaigns for policy change.
Want to know more? Fearless Femme can be found at https://www.fearlessfemme.co.uk/our-story/