Now, more than ever, we need to nurture our young people to help ensure that their mental health is in as good a condition as their physical health.
Youth workers do so much to contribute to young people’s mental health and wellbeing, and can make a real difference to a young person’s life, just by engaging with them. At the SCQF Partnership we are keen to ensure that young people fulfil their potential and that all their achievements, both academic and otherwise, are formally recognised. Organisations can have their learning programmes credit rated, which is the mechanism to formally allocate SCQF levels and credits to their learning and have that learning placed on Scotland’s national qualifications framework – the SCQF – thus allowing young people to progress more easily through their learning journey. Two organisations that have had their programmes for young people credit rated are Fuse Youth Café Glasgow and DirectDevitt.
Fuse Youth Café Glasgow is a charity working in East Glasgow providing a variety of services to the young people of the area. Its Anti-Bullying/Stop Motion Animation Programme aims to give academic recognition to young people participating in an anti-bullying programme. The programme’s objectives are to equip learners with a deeper understanding of bullying combined with some practical skills and experience in stop motion animation. The programme, targeted at secondary school pupils, was credit rated by Glasgow Kelvin College at SCQF Level 4 with 2 credit points. It helps young people understand what bullying is and how it can affect individuals and their families.
The programme includes activities around mental health experiences such as anxiety and depression. Michelle Haggerty, Attainment Co-ordinator at Fuse explains: “Sessions have highlighted some of the horrific bullying young people have experienced which they demonstrated through their animations. The theory sessions support participants in learning the basics about bullying so that they can recognise it happening to themselves or others. The theory sessions finish on a more positive note where we look at recovery and coping mechanisms.”
Anna Devitt founded DirectDevitt Comedy & Management Productions (CIC) using her own personal experience and research to create a learning environment where all can achieve. Its Comedy & Confidence Award is designed to instil confidence in participants while using comedy as a creative tool. This Award also covers employability skills, self-development, mental health understanding and entrepreneurial skills. The target audience is young people aged 14+ outwith mainstream education who are more practical learners seeking to improve confidence through creativity. The programme was credit rated by SQA at SCQF Level 6 with 9 SCQF credit points.
Anna comments: “By creating a course and getting it credit rated we are showing people from all walks of life that you can do anything you set your mind to. Even gaining a qualification in comedy to use for your personal battles and to spread some laughter. By delivering the Comedy & Confidence programme to young people we hope to impart the skills to maintain a positive mindset and step by step guide to loving you!”
To date, DirectDevittCIC has delivered the Course to over 2000 young people. Establishments include The Prince’s Trust, Youth Scotland, Yes Enterprise, HMYOI Polmont, Bute Youth, Glasgow City College, Jobs & Business Glasgow and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The company’s social aims and impact are demonstrated through participant feedback where 98% of people reported an increase in confidence and an understanding of comedy as a resilient coping method.
This blog was written for YouthLink Scotland as a contribution to its National Youth Work Conference and YouthLink Scotland AGM on 14 November which will explore youth work and the health and social care sector’s contribution to young people’s mental health and wellbeing.