Young people suffering psychological challenges, made worse by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, will have access to an information hub giving contact details of local professional support services and resources, thanks to a new scheme from Oxfordshire County Council.
Teenagers face daunting choices, such as deciding between continuing in education or entering the workplace. Disruption caused by the pandemic has increased fears that some might fall between the cracks when it comes to assistance and support.
Councillor Steve Harrod, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, said: “We’ve identified three major challenges faced by our young people; isolation, next steps and anxiety. Many are struggling with loneliness, maintaining friendships and social circles, while often wrestling with themselves.
“For 16 to18 year olds, it’s a confusing, scary and anxious time and this is compounded by COVID-19. Whether to stay at school or college, look for work or training. Do they keep living at home or find their own accommodation? There will be financial concerns too.
“While existing mental wellbeing networks have tried to maintain a level of service, for almost a year, we recognise that young people have had limited or no access to the range of professionals who would normally steer them through a very complex set of decisions at a crossroads in their life. That is why we are taking action by launching a mental wellbeing information hub.”
The county council believes that in many cases, parents and carers are also lacking the support they need to help young people manage stress and anxiety. Resources to help with this will be promoted to them in the coming weeks.
The hub aims to help young people navigate a myriad of local and national services by conveniently signposting them to practical advice, resources and help tools. Social media and websites will be central to the initiative, designed to offer a one stop shop where advice is just a couple of clicks away.
Further information is available from the county council’s young people website: www.oxme.info/wellbeing