Best For You’s new volunteering programme launches this month. The NHS organisations behind this innovative, new approach are fast-tracking all of the different elements to help as many young people as possible.
The volunteering programme has, importantly, been co-designed with young people in response to their feedback that mental health services can feel lonely and that they want support from people they can relate to.
The volunteering programme initially includes 10 digital volunteers aged 20 to 29 years old. It aims to quickly expand both the numbers of volunteers and the ways in which they support the programme.
The Best For You digital volunteers have been trained to:
- Coach patients on the digital tools and apps available to them to drive a deeper understanding of how they work and encourage people to use them more regularly
- Swiftly and effectively resolve any issues or questions
- Regularly check in on young people’s progress and help them to stay engaged
- Collate comments from users and feed them back so ongoing improvements can be made to the service, improving young people’s experiences
- Support the family and friends of patients so they in turn can help their loved one
What people say
Martyna Stasiak, one of the Best For You volunteers, says: ‘I know from experience that young people are facing another kind of pandemic at the moment. Not only are we trying to navigate COVID but we’re also dealing with increased feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and so much more. I applied to volunteer as part of Best For You not only because I can relate to some of these experiences and want to help young people in need, but I also recognise the benefit volunteering has for me too. I experienced social anxiety as a result of the first lockdown and so working with others via the volunteering programme is helping me manage my own mental health too.’
Tina Fletcher, Best For You Volunteering Manager, explains: ‘Volunteering is a fulfilling way to help others and has been proven to impart as many health benefits on the volunteer as well as the people they are helping. The top benefits include: building self-esteem, reducing stress, creating a sense of purpose, and helping to learn new skills – and it can also help people trying to get back into the workplace after a break in their career. If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering please email Christina.email@example.com’
The digital platform and the volunteering programme are just two parts of the Best For You programme. Throughout the rest of the year, we’ll be launching:
- Day services that will provide a space for young people and their families to get immediate mental health support without needing an appointment. The service will include outpatient clinical care, therapies, and family support. The day services will connect with the inpatient service and community services to make sure patients experiences aren’t fragmented – they’ll be able to access joined-up support that’s available long-term to support recovery and ongoing wellbeing.
- Community partnerships that will bridge the gap between clinical and community settings. Innovative partnerships with the private sector, schools, community groups, crisis services, and digital services will make sure young people can access comprehensive and personalised care and that, critically, it’ll be available for as long as they need it.
- A young people’s rapid assessment unit that will be staffed by a multidisciplinary team. It will integrate medical care with mental health care to quickly and seamlessly assess, transfer, and treat young people who need help. Currently, the treatment of a young person in mental health crisis draws a line between physical and mental health assessment.