Covid-19: Our response

At Youth Access, we are obviously concerned about the emerging situation around the outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus. As well as doing all we can to promote public health and look out for the most vulnerable in society, it’s important that we consider the significant impact that the outbreak could have on our sector.

As more measures to contain the virus come into force and a greater degree of social distancing is encouraged, our network is likely to face new challenges in providing services and staying in contact with the young people who rely on us. Meanwhile, extended periods of isolation and exposure to public anxiety about the virus could exacerbate mental health issues and leave even more young people in need of advice and counselling.

We must work together to overcome these challenges. At Youth Access we are looking into how we can support our members to develop new ways of working and share practices that can help to minimise the disruption to young people who need support. To start with, we want to find out what plans are in place to mitigate the impact of the outbreak on your services. We would be grateful if all members could take a few minutes to answer a couple of questions about their concerns regarding the situation and what steps they are taking to mitigate the impact on their work. You can answer these questions here.

Furthermore, we want to point youth advice and counselling services towards a resource that could be helpful in the coming weeks and months: Going Digital, a beginner’s guide to adding online support to your young people’s mental health and wellbeing service. This guide was produced in 2017 as part of our Digitalk project, and includes practical information on things like safeguarding, choosing the right platform and creating safe and welcoming online communities for young people. The guide was previously only circulated to Youth Access members, but we have now made it freely accessible online for all services needing guidance on how to take the first steps towards online delivery.

Finally, in case you are concerned about how news of the outbreak is affecting the mental health of the young people you work with, here are some useful links to share with them:

We wish all our members, supporters and young people the best physical and mental health during this difficult time.