A message from Jessica Taylor-YMCA
My name is Jessica Taylor, I am a Youth Outreach Work for YMCA Humber. I have worked with children and young people for the last 12 years, offering mentoring, guidance and support. Currently I am undergoing my master’s degree in Social Work and use this knowledge to improve my work and practice.
Over the last 2 years I have worked with PMNW delivering mental health workshops across the Humber region in secondary schools. YMCA Humber have a long history of working within the community, offering support to young people that are disadvantaged. We offer well-being support and social space for young people aged 8-18 through weekly sessions.
YMCA Humber develop workshops through the ‘I’m Possible’ project, to offer a range of different workshops to schools and communities that tackle and address well-being difficulties that young people face on a day to day basis. These include things such as bully and banter, body image, substance misuse, consent and mental health.
I have delivered the mental health workshop for the last 2 years alongside PMNW. The workshop looks at ways in which young people can seek help and support, spot and identify behaviours and actions in themselves and other people, which indicate they are struggling with their mental health.
Feedback from teachers and young people show that this workshop is very relevant and thought provoking for young people and the teachers that participate. I allow the young people the space to express their opinions and thoughts around the topics without feeling embarrassed or criticised for their views. What is also important is the atmosphere, I strive to ensure that I connect with the young people on a level they understand and use the latest trends to connect with them during the workshop, activities and games to create a light hearted quality to the session, which allows the young people to address the emotive topic without distress.
Mental health is now a regular topic throughout education and a subject many young people are becoming familiar with, despite this, it is still important to understand current stresses and strains that are placed on young people through social media and education. Young people require reassurance to ensure that they do not feel ashamed or frightened to talk about their difficulties and more importantly, be able to spot the signs in themselves and their friends.
PMNW has enabled the YMCA Humber to expand this work which has flourished into a fruitful and valuable partnership and we look forward to seeing what the future brings.