Meg Thomas, our Head of Programme Design & Policy Management, wrote for The Herald on how Scotland’s most disadvantage young people are at risk of not having their voices heard as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
THE Covid-19 emergency has impacted all of our lives in ways we could never have imagined. Yet, it is undeniable that its negative effects are impacting those who were already suffering and marginalised more than most.
Includem welcomes the opportunity to submit a response to the Scottish Advisory Group on Economic Recovery. You can read our full submission here.
Our Chief Executive, Martin Dorchester, summarises his thoughts:
Includem believes the third sector has more “than an important role” to society and the economy. It is, we believe, pivotal to making the change required to bring about a more robust and inclusive economy that works for everyone.
Taking an economic perspective, the sector has a turnover in excess of £6 billion, expenditure that almost matches that at £5.7 billion and employs over 100,000 people (paid) in Scotland. But more than that, and as we have seen during this pandemic, it significantly contributes to the wellbeing of society, to the development of community and for the good of all.
Today Includem has published our Staying Connected report which looks at the digital inclusion of young people and families we support.
We were already living in an increasingly digital world, but the Covid-19 emergency has accelerated the introduction and use of digital technologies at an unprecedented rate. With lockdown and social distancing measures in place, many services and organisations, such as Includem, are trying to continue to deliver services and support young people and families remotely via predominantly digital tools.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, we are proud to launch Includem’s Mental Health First Aid initiative for staff.
The health and wellbeing of our staff is hugely important to us. The events of the last few months have served as a stark reminder of how fragile our health can be, and how important it is to look after each other and ourselves.
That’s why we are using this Mental Health Awareness Week to launch Includem’s team of Mental Health First Aiders. A group of 12 Includem staff from across the organisation completed the two-day Mental Health first Aid training programme, which teaches you how to recognise when someone is in distress and how to offer support.
When we start working with a young person we make a promise that we will always listen to them and we will be with them every step of the way on their journey with us. That hasn’t changed, but how we do it has.
Social distancing has forced us into our homes and out of our comfort zone in hundreds of ways. How we have conversations and sustain relationships is a huge part of that. Phone calls and video calls can be awkward for anyone – conversation just isn’t as natural as it is when you’re actually with someone.
So, it’s completely understandable that trying to engage a young person on the phone for longer than three-and-a-half minutes can be a challenge that even the most accomplished chatterbox would struggle with. And it’s not about keeping young people on the phone for the sake of it; we really want to have meaningful, supportive conversations with them – that’s why we’re here.
However, if there’s one thing that this bizarre lockdown situation has taught me, it’s how to be creative. As I trawled through the internet looking for ideas on how to make a phone call fun and engaging, I came across some very simple – but very effective – games to play.