In May, Chris Gooder from Chimp Management kindly visited Suffolk Young People’s Health Project (also known as ‘4YP’) to deliver your very kind £500 donation in support of our charitable services. You will no doubt be pleased to learn that your contribution has been invaluable in our work to support mental and emotional wellbeing in recent months.
For example, 4YP’s counselling provision, possibly the largest such service for young people in the county, offers more than 100 individuals a session each week. In addition to this, the administration team communicate with countless others – young people and family members – in a compassionate and non-judgemental manner. Feedback tells us this is an essential step in the therapeutic process, often being the first time people have been listened to and had their issues taken seriously.
The main presenting issues from 2016-17 offer an indication of problems Counsellors have been addressing since May. These included anger (in 19.3% of cases), depression/low mood (24.1%), poor confidence/self-esteem (8.9%), and anxiety (33.0%). Poor relationships (including families) were linked to 40.5% of all cases, while bullying featured in 6.1 %. Those aged 14 and 15 made up 47.7% of all young people receiving counselling, emphasising the need for interventions at this stage in life.
We offer a multitude of activities that support emotional wellbeing, from ad hoc drop-in advice and guidance, to workshops in schools, and informally educating and improving the link between mood and physical health and fitness.
Between 01 April and 30 September 2017, 4YP’s Young People’s Workers supported 2,966 contacts. It is their approachable and trustworthy nature that continues to ensure young people recognise 4YP as the sanctuary they need, while their knowledge and experience are pivotal to improved health and wellbeing. Aside from our usual objectives, we have noticed signposting for parents, family members and carers has become more common over the past 12 months.
We know young people who lack resilience and support networks often turn to risk-taking behaviours to cope. This can manifest dangerously as substance misuse, poor sexual practices, suicidal ideation, and anti-social or criminal behaviours.
As such, and in addition to our usual activities – such as single gender sessions, getting active groups, volunteering opportunities, sexual health support, and emotional wellbeing workshops – in the period since receiving your donation we have strengthened how our wrap-around youth work supports the hundreds of young people who access 4YP counselling.
We have increased coordination between counselling and youth work activities to ensure we provide even more effective wrap-around support for each young person while they are on the waiting list, plus alongside and after counselling. This has led to a remarkable change. Until around a year ago, the counselling waiting list rarely dropped below 200 young people