A major new project to support young people’s mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic is being supported by the Connolly Foundation.

Youthscape, based in Luton, helps disaffected young people.

It has implemented ‘Thrive’; a new initiative that helps youngsters across Bedfordshire whose lives have been turned upside down by Covid-19.

Many are finding it hard to cope with isolation, a loss of routine, anxiety about the future, a disruption to their education, and in some cases difficult or traumatic experiences at home.

The Connolly Foundation has provided funds to develop a new suite of resources for schools across the county.

The material has been developed through the summer of 2020 with input from psychologists, educational psychologists, youth workers and community representatives.

More than 30 schools across the county have already committed to using ’Thrive’ in the first weeks of term.

Speaking at the launch of the new resource, Youthscape’s CEO, Chris Curtis, said “Every student across Bedfordshire should have access to advice and support for their mental wellbeing as they return to school – and we’re excited to have played a part in making that happen.

“The Connolly Foundation have stepped in and made it possible to create this new programme in time for the start of term.

“We hope it will benefit thousands of young people in the next few months.”

At the heart of the new resource are a series of films following the experiences of three local young people as they deal with the impact of lockdown, missed exams and the return to school.

Their stories are both inspiring and insightful.

Alongside these films, there is advice and input from leading psychologist, Dr Kate Middleton and 10 activities for students to complete.

Together the resources give schools everything they need to deliver support for students through lessons and tutor times.

Early research (Young Minds, May 2020) indicates that more than 80 per cent of young people with a history of mental ill health have found their conditions have worsened since the coronavirus
crisis began.

But the impact of the pandemic is much wider than that – it is a affecting the mental well-being of almost all students in some way.

There is growing consensus that supporting positive mental health will be a key issue to address when schools return for the new term.