Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET) and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) have launched a new partnership project, titled Your Mind Matters, which will work directly with children and young people from Armed Forces families across Scotland to develop a new mental health and wellbeing support service.
Your Mind Matters, which is the first of its kind in the UK, has received funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Trust to better understand and respond effectively to a range of unique challenges children and young people of serving Armed Forces personnel and veterans face with regard to mental health and wellbeing.
The launch phase of the project is inviting children and young people of serving personnel and veterans across Scotland to come forward and get involved in Your Mind Matters by sharing experiences, thoughts and opinions as well as creativity to develop two specific strands of the new support service, as part of its co-production approach.
The next phase of Your Mind Matters will provide an opportunity for Armed Forces children and young people from across Scotland an opportunity to engage with RCET to co-produce a bespoke digital platform and work with SAMH through individual and group face-to-face youth-led pilot support services in Helensburgh and Kilmarnock.
The project has launched in response to a consultation with over six-hundred young people from Armed Forces families across Scotland, where over eighty percent of respondents told the Royal Caledonian Education Trust they faced considerable challenges to mental health and wellbeing.
Many of the challenges expressed by children and young people, as part of the consultation, related directly to unique experiences of life within an Armed Forces family, which included deployment of loved ones, regular relocations and the subsequent disruption of education and friendships.
The consultation uncovered additional complexities which can significantly impact mental health and wellbeing of children and young people living with serving personnel and veterans, such as residing with or caring for a family member living with physical or psychological wounds.
Laura Falconer, CEO of Royal Caledonian Education Trust said:
“I am delighted that we have launched Your Mind Matters, which will specifically recognise Armed Forces children and young people’s unique experiences of life and support their mental health and wellbeing.
“This exciting new service is being delivered in partnership with SAMH and, over the next two years, RCET will develop a digital platform to support Armed Forces children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing across Scotland, while SAMH will pilot face to face individual and group support in Helensburgh and Kilmarnock. We are extremely grateful to our funders, The Armed Forces Covenant Trust, for supporting this much-needed work. Of particular importance to us is that the development of the digital platform will take a co-production approach, with the service being designed in partnership with the children and young people we support. I look forward to seeing what we collectively achieve.”
Alex Cumming, Assistant Director of Delivery and Development at SAMH said:
“Every young person deserves support for their mental health and wellbeing when they need it, but we know many Armed Forces children and young people face unique challenges. That’s why we’re delighted to be involved in this important project. We’re looking forward to working alongside our partners Royal Caledonian Educational Trust (RCET) to deliver a range of wellbeing services, with Armed Forces children and young people at the very centre of development.”