The youth work sector has always been a crucial source of support for young people in so many ways. The lasting relationships that are built provide safety for young people as they learn and develop and face the new challenges that are part of the journey to adulthood and beyond. This is particularly important during difficult times when mental health and wellbeing can be potentially seriously impacted. For many young people, and also youth workers, recent months have been more difficult than anyone could have imagined at the beginning of 2020.

As ever, so many people across the sector have worked together to support each other as we have faced the challenges caused by COVID. Disconnection, loneliness, worry, fear, inactivity, grief and loss are just some of the feelings that young people have been dealing with. We were proud to launch Heids Together a few weeks ago, which is a resource that demonstrates some of the ways the young people have adapted so well to support each other whilst facing the challenges of Lockdown.

We were joined in the collaboration (done over less than 3 months from May to August) by specialist mental health focused organisations SeeMe and Penumbra and by young people and youth workers from LGBT Youth, Scouts,  Passion4Fusion, St Mungos High Youth Work Team led by Fare and by the local authority teams from Glasgow Life and Dumfries and Galloway.

The resource offers information and creative and innovative ideas that can be useful at any time as we try to support ourselves and each other, and not least during this Suicide Prevention Week. Knowing exactly what to say and do when someone is struggling is much less important than listening and conveying the message that it is okay not to be okay. After all, we are all unique, so simply being there for someone in whatever way that you can is the best thing that anyone can ever hope to do. Heids Together is not only a helpful resource but a testament to the resilience and the remarkable diversity of the youth work sector in Scotland.