South Yorkshire charity ChilyPep dedicates to promoting the wellbeing and rights of young people, despite challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Becky Batley, a Mental Health Participation Project Worker for ChilyPep, works alongside young people with her team on mental health campaigns.
Throughout the lockdowns, Becky and her team have been providing emotional support for coping with bereavement and support to manage young people’s mental health.
Becky said: “The pandemic has been very challenging for us as youth workers- the switch to working from home and only being allowed to run our groups online has definitely had its toll.
“A lot of young people spend their weeks on Zoom or Microsoft Teams doing their schoolwork, so when their groups are also online, it can be hard for them to join us. Zoom fatigue is a big issue and means that young people aren’t engaging with us as much as they were before the pandemic.
“A lot of the value young people take from our groups are from the relationships they have between them-selves on an online platform, these can’t take place and a lot of the peer supports and social times that happens in face-to-face settings just don’t happen online.”
According to the NHS, in 2020, one in six (16%) children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as likely to have a mental health problem, a rise from one in nine (10.8%) in 2017.
The Connections Hub on the ChilyPep website offers a range of activities and social events available for young people.
Becky added: “Whilst we are not a support group, we are a supportive environment, we cannot empower young people to create changes on issues which are important to them without supporting them as individuals too.
For more information on resources and ways to get mental health support, please visit these sites:
- ChilyPep website: https://chilypep.org.uk/
- Sheffield Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services: https://www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk/services/camhs/