Helm recognises that 2023 is a very challenging time to be a young person. The Covid pandemic has meant that young people have lost almost two years within a traditional education setting, years that are crucial to the development of their core life skills.

Additionally, wider global events such as the cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine are impacting on young people’s mental health.  They are currently at risk of becoming a lost generation if we don’t act quickly, a perspective which is supported by research reports from across the UK.

The BBC’s Loneliness Experiment found that 40% of young people now feel lonely compared to 27% of over 75’s. This demonstrates that while it is a common misconception that loneliness is limited to older people, it’s now the 16-24 year olds who are the loneliest age group in the UK.

Additionally, in March 2023, the Mental Health Foundation conducted an online survey of 6,000 UK adults aged 18+ to look at anxiety in the UK population, its causes, and popular coping mechanisms.

The research found that nearly three-quarters of the population (73%) had felt anxious at least sometimes in the previous two weeks, with one in five people (20%) anxious most or all of the time.  Additionally, the report highlights that some groups of people are more likely to be affected by anxiety than others. Nearly all young people (18 to 24 years) in the research (86%) had felt anxious in the previous two weeks. For over half (58%), this had stopped them undertaking day-to-day activities

Over the last year Helm has been aware of a considerable change in the needs of the young people who engage with us. There are significant changes, in particular they are demonstrating lower levels of confidence and motivation, higher levels of anxiety and demonstrating symptoms of poor mental health.

Helm is working hard to address this, and we are aware that earlier intervention would make a significant difference.

Helm is running free sessions focused on confidence building which are available to Dundee young people!

With this in mind, we are delighted to announce the significant level of need has been recognised and Helm has been awarded funding through the Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund to provide early intervention support for young people of Dundee. As part of the funding, this June, we are running a series of free sessions for young people from Dundee with the focus being on reducing social isolation, building self-confidence and exploring next steps and opportunities for them.

We will be offering two series of seven week blocks, for young people aged 16 – 24 years old who are struggling with their confidence, motivation and social isolation and are struggling to determine their next steps.

There are two blocks available, running on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, each with 6 spaces. Blocks will start during w/c 19th June and spaces are being offered on a first come, first served basis.

During the block of sessions, young people will spend the first four weeks building connections and growing self-confidence. Activities will be fun, creative, and engaging, encouraging the young people to try new things and engage with others. Week five will include a trip (possibly the V&A, McManus, country walk, etc.) planned by the young people in the first 4 sessions. Finally, weeks six and seven will be focusing on next steps and there is the potential for working with partners like SDS and other employability providers, D&A College and others.

The young people ideally suited to this programme are those who have struggled to re-engage with education or peers post pandemic and have concerns about their connections, engagement or next steps.

We are pleased to be able to offer these early intervention sessions to young people from Dundee. We know that young people have been impacted significantly by global events outside of their control which is now impacting on their mental health. We hope that by launching sessions focusing on building self confidence and reducing social isolation, we will enable young people to take the first cautious steps towards a positive destination.  However, more must be done. Helm would welcome a conversation on a national stage about how we can better engage with and support not just young people, but also their families, carers and teachers, to help remove the risk of them becoming a lost generation

Ally Calder, Chief Executive at Helm

If you know a young person who you feel would benefit from attending the sessions, please contact Rachel McEwen on rachel.mcewen@helmtraining.co.uk to request further information and a referral form. Places are offered on a first come, first served basis so please don’t hesitate to contact her for more information. Unfortunately, places are limited to young people from Dundee at this stage.