The objective of this webinar was to present the best practices learnt in the implementation of the youth wellbeing project which focused on integrated mental health and wellbeing support for youth and particularly young people with lived experience of care.
This is the 15th webinar in the Transforming Children's Care Collaborative Webinar Series.
Mental health problems affect 10–20% of children and young people (CYP) worldwide, with a staggering 90% of these individuals residing in low-middle income countries. This alarming statistic sheds light on a global issue that demands our attention. Evidence suggests that lifelong risk factors are associated with institutionalisation, including violence, abuse, and neglect, all of which significantly contribute to mental health issues among young people. Sadly, mental health remains a seldom-discussed topic in Uganda, where interventions, if available, are primarily reactive, leaving individuals in an extremely vulnerable position before seeking or receiving support. Shockingly, a recent study reveals that 35% of CYP who have experienced institutional care received no support once they left care.
In response to this pressing need, Child's i Foundation embarked on a groundbreaking two-year pilot project known as the Wellbeing Project. This initiative not only aimed to provide direct support to young people with lived experience of care (YPLEC) but also strived to establish a youth-led learning partnership. This partnership brought together an established network of YPLEC and newly qualified social workers to accomplish two critical objectives. First, they collaborated with a reputable social work agency and a production team to develop a trauma-informed wellbeing manual and contextualised online training videos. These resources will continue to serve as invaluable tools to inspire action and enhance the skills of social workers. Second, the project piloted a community-based response to address the mental health issues faced by young people in Uganda. The outcome being a cadre of trained wellbeing champions within an established peer network, providing non-judgmental peer support to young people at risk in their communities.
In essence, this project represents a sustainable solution to the scarcity of mental health support available for young people and adopts a preventative and scalable approach. It tackles the formidable barriers confronted by YPLEC in accessing support by fostering positive mental health for young people transitioning to independent life.