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Helping young people thrive and flourish’

todayMay 21, 2020 21

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Faith Hope and Love

Mental Health can affect everyone. Gareth Sorsby CEO YMCA knows what its been like in lockdown and tells Andrew Phillips of the support they have played

Mental Health can affect everyone. Gareth Sorsby YMCA Exeter Joint CEO has been working closely with his team to encourage connection during lockdown for the hundreds of young people they support in the South West. Gareth tells Andrew Phillips of the support YMCA Exeter have played.


In a global crisis, young people need us more than ever. 87% of our young people at YMCA Exeter recently told us that they struggle with self-harm, depression and anxiety.  One of the single most important steps to combat these issues is to encourage connection with others – to find ways for the young people to stop isolating themselves. But how do you encourage connection during enforced lockdown? 

Support workers at YMCA Exeter have been pulling out all the stops to create an anxiety-free environment for the young people we support since the lockdown began. From video conferencing youth groups, to virtual coffee shops, daily art competitions and group gaming sessions, the team at YMCA Exeter are doing everything they can to ensure our young people can live anxiety-free. 

All of this flows out of our commitment to seeing communities becoming a place of love, joy, peace and hope; places where young people can become everything they were created to be. And central to all our practical work is our Christian faith.  

As a YMCA staff team, we are inspired by the example of Jesus Christ and motivated by our shared experience of God’s love and his transforming work within our own lives.

You can find an incredible wealth of resources around mental health on our Covid-19 resource page:

  • If you’re a youth worker looking for advice on engaging young people with mental health issues, you’ll find our downloadable wellbeing lockdown booklet. 
  • If you know someone who is struggling with anxiety, check out our blog with 9 tips on coping.
  • If you’re a parent worried about how much your child is gaming there’s helpful advice on healthy gaming.

Written by: Rufus Olaniyan

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