Times of transition can be hard for young people with mental health challenges - Steve Urquhart

All of us experience transitions in life. Many of them positive, such as getting your dream job or having children. But many can be negative experiences, such as becoming unemployed or losing a loved one.

Aerial view of St. Andrews in Fife
Aerial view of St. Andrews in Fife

As young people transition from adolescence to adulthood they will reach new milestones, face new responsibilities, and adjust to new environments such as college or a new city. For some young people, for example young people experiencing anxiety or depression, this transition is particularly challenging as it requires them to leave their current systems of support at a time they may need it the most. Parents and guardians are included in this transition, as many of them rely on the support from school and child services to find information and build their network.

Young people with multiple and complex needs, such as balancing life with autism and anxiety, are particularly vulnerable to finding these transitions stressful. Building relationships and articulating how we feel helps us create a foundation that will support us during times of transition. Without this foundation, young people often become isolated and cut off from the support available in their community.

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So, what can we do to make sure young people access the foundation of support they need to support their mental health? There may not be one answer, but one important aspect must be the integration of support services. Transitioning away from child services involves young people ending relationships built up over many years and adjusting to adult services where there may be different levels of support than they are used to. Partnerships with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and the third sector help ensure young people moving from child to adult services have access to the support that will best meet their individual needs and help ease this transition.

Support in Mind Scotland, a charity providing mental health advice and support, recognises the role the third sector can have during this transition and offers young people independent support to achieve a ‘new normal’ in both their local communities and adult care support services. To assist this work, Support in Mind Scotland secured a Young Start award from The National Lottery Community Fund to help the charity support young people known to CAMHS in Tayside during their transition to new support services. This service, known as CUThru Tayside, helps young people identify a plan that reflects their own needs and wants, including practical needs such as income and housing. The service will empower young people with tools to manage their mental health, to advocate for their rights and to access networks that can help achieve their wants and ambitions.

Support In Mind Scotland’s CEO, Nick Ward, said: “We are delighted to receive this Young Start award which will build on funding we received from the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership to embed this service locally and expand it into Dundee and Angus.”

CUThru Tayside want to ensure young people’s voices and opinions are heard when developing their services designed to support young people. If you are aged 16 to 24, you can share your experiences and thoughts on the support you would like to receive on Microsoft Forms:

Steve Urquhart, Fife and Tayside Area Manager, Support in Mind Scotland

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