As we move closer to Spring and reflect on the challenges this year is already posing, Your Mind Matters is uniquely positioned to provide wellbeing support at a time when it is sorely needed. Perhaps more so now because we’re in a state of confused expectations about a phased return to some state of ‘normality’. Within these strange times, the highlight of my week is always working with our small project team of Armed Forces young people on the exciting development of our brand-new digital platform, possible due to the generous funding of the Armed Forces Covenant Trust. Much of the rest of my time is devoted to planning, adjusting, preparing and striving to provide the best possible experience for the young people. The continuing lockdown situation brings pressures for us all, but particularly for our amazing Armed Forces young people who somehow find the energy for their education, their family and friends, as well as projects like Your Mind Matters, showing up on Zoom again.
As a Digital Participation Worker, I’m working hard with Nina Collins, our fantastic Youth Participation Manager, to make these sessions engaging, fun and provide a real sense of inspiration and power-sharing with our team as we develop our model of co-production together. However, the world of digital has become exhausting, draining and a constant demand rather than a choice. This impacts how we work with our young people (if only we could have a pizza night in person!) but also affects our collective creativity for thinking about a new future of digital support for wellbeing. Of course, I am hoping that when our new platform launches next year, we will have some balance back where the idea of accessing digital support is a preference, the right choice or a supplementary choice rather than the only one.
So, we need to consider – how do we create this demand for digital? How will we use this platform, not only in a situation that we find ourselves in now, but in a world which is busier, where we’re moving, travelling and potentially bringing forward blended models of learning and working? What lessons have we learned in lockdown that are important to carry forward? Where can digital enhance communication, improve information flow and bring together resources? Given how much we all have to use digital tools now, how do we want to use them in future?
Part of the solution comes from the opportunity in building something brand-new and bespoke in our Your Mind Matters project, with our co-production approach. Armed Forces young people can join our project now and tell us exactly what they need, what they want in a platform – and what they don’t!
We’re also seeking digital expertise in the form of Digital Mentors to guide the product development, to inspire, inform and integrate new knowledge and insights into our work so that it is relevant, fresh and evidence based. We want to build something that works for our Armed Forces young people, their families, and their communities.
If you are or know an Armed Forces young person who might want to get involved, get in touch!
Your perspective matters.
If you are a digital expert with knowledge of platform development, engagement tools or youth wellbeing support, get in touch!
Your experience matters.
If you work in the area of wellbeing and mental health, within the Armed Forces context or co-production, get in touch!
Your mind matters.