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Young People share their lived experience of lockdown at the Mayor’s mental health roundtable

10th March 2021

Young Londoners were at the forefront of a roundtable hosted by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and chaired by Deputy Mayor, Joanne McCartney, to mark Good Thinking’s new expanded digital platform to provide young people aged 13-18 with access to free resources and new NHS approved apps to improve mental well-being and emotional resilience.

The expansion of Good Thinking continues the Mayor’s drive to help and support children and young people on improving the mental health and wellbeing of all young Londoners. As part of this campaign, Good Thinking – an NHS approved online mental wellbeing service – also launched a number of apps to ensure that young people are getting the emotional support they need.  This is a timely initiative to help empower young people to take control of their wellbeing and to raise awareness of mental health support available.

Organised by Good Thinking, Partnership for Young London, and City Hall, the virtual roundtable was designed to support young people to openly discuss key issues and challenges that impacted their lives over the last year.

The event follows an in-depth online listening project run by Partnership for Young London on a simple premise – how are young people coping with COVID-19?

The lockdown has upturned the lives of young people at a time when they are usually becoming more independent and taking steps towards their future. Instead, they have been confined to their homes, exams were cancelled, and their next steps looked suddenly less certain.  Here young people revealed the struggles of lockdown – and how they coped.

During the roundtable, the Mayor spoke with a group of young Londoners, covering topics such as the impact of the pandemic on young people’s mental health, lived experience on how young people today are coping with stress and exploring how Good Thinking can help build resilience through its new content which includes; advice and blogs, podcasts and a number of new apps. Apps include;

  • Feeling GoodFeeling Good Teen – positive mental training based on sports psychology
  • Combined minds– to help families and friends support young people with their mental health
  • Clear Fear– provides you with a range of ways to manage the symptoms of anxiety
  • International Student– information, tips and useful links for international students in the UK
  • Apart of me a quest into loss and love, safe space for young people to explore grief
  • Move Mood – helping teenagers manage low mood and depression.
  • Student Health– reliable, relevant health advice for young adults

Young people described feeling overwhelmed and trapped, fearful about COVID-19, missing people that they couldn’t see face to face, and feeling uncertain about the future. Many found that milestones they had worked towards for years, were suddenly gone. “I have been feeling more anxious than before, possibly due to not feeling as connected to anyone or school as before, making me put off important work till later. But what helps me is chatting with my friends, as well as drawing and creating.” one participant told us.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This past year has proved incredibly difficult for young Londoners as they have faced unprecedented challenges and an uncertain future. I was delighted to host this roundtable to hear about their experiences, the issues affecting them, and how they have adapted during lockdown. These new resources offered by Good Thinking are invaluable as they empower young people to improve their mental health and wellbeing. I encourage anyone who needs help and support to access these tools and resources.”

Sharon Long, Strategic Director, Partnership for Young London, said: “These are challenging times for everyone and after many months spent at home, away from friends and usual routines, many young people have been in need of support. That is why we have been working with a diverse group of incredible young people alongside Good Thinking to share their lived experience and different perspectives to help shape the development of the extended platform for young people.

“The pandemic has highlighted the inequalities that many young Londoners face and we must create a positive platform which profiles the hopes, assets and expectations of young Londoners today, being clear that their voices and needs are a crucial part of our regional recovery from Covid-19.”

Martin Machray, Joint Regional Chief Nurse – London, NHS, said: “The last year has underlined how vital it is to look after the mental health and wellbeing. As a clinician I have seen at first hand the damage experienced by young people and their families when things spiral out of control. Good Thinking helps us all step in earlier. Never before has this service been more important than right now.”

Dr Richard Graham, Consultant Psychiatrist; Good Thinking Clinical Director, said: “To develop a service for young people, Good Thinking embraced a present where young people are already making intelligent choices as to how and where they might seek advice and support for their mental health. This social, generous generation now needs health advice and resources that are relatable, and that do not support their own well-being alone, but, crucially, helps them support their friends’ well-being too. With perhaps a greater knowledge of mental health difficulties, at a younger age, than previous generations, they want to support themselves and each other early, before a difficulty becomes beyond their control. To help them do so, we have identified the best advice and Apps, and have ensured that all meet the standards for NHS approval, and for free.

“To meet the needs of everyone who is struggling meant that we had to do something different, in order to offer more support and choice to the young people of London. We hope this first step, long planned, helps at this time, but more important is our ongoing commitment to develop new offers of mental health support, in collaboration with young people, for our 21st Century. This is not the time for a ‘new normal’; this is the time for a ‘better normal’.”

Good Thinking is free for Londoners to access and provides support to those who feel anxious, sleep-deprived, stressed or in low mood. The platform is continually being updated with specific resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of Londoners in response to coronavirus which can be found here. This includes articles and blogs and 30 podcasts.

For more information on Good Thinking for young people, visit www.good-thinking.uk/youngpeople 

 

 

 

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