Last Updated: Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Aberdeenshire CLD - mental health and wellbeing peer educators

What is this?

Due to Covid-19 restrictions on meeting in groups, Aberdeenshire Council Community Learning and Development (CLD) Service worked with Young People Team to create a virtual Mental Health and Wellbeing Peer Education Programme for Young People aged 13-18. Youth Work Education Recovery Funding was awarded to CLD to deliver this.

Who is this for?

It is aimed at staff with managerial responsibility for CLD and further education; CLD practitioners; all educators who have a role to play in supporting young people and an interest in mental health or peer education programmes.

What we did:

Peer Educators logoCommunity Learning and Development (CLD) staff designed a Mental Health and Wellbeing Peer Education Programme for young people in Aberdeenshire. Due to Covid-19 regulations, this was delivered live but entirely online through Google Meet using PowerPoint Presentations, Break-Out Room Discussions and Videos.

Peer Educator training sessions were delivered by CLD Workers over three evenings. Funding allowed the SaMH Children and Young People’s team to deliver their Mental Health Ambassadors Award over a separate three evenings. Young people also had the opportunity to undertake an SQA Award in Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Supported by CLD Staff, 21 Young People completed the training as Peer Educators to deliver Mental Health and Wellbeing sessions in their local learning communities. 14 of these young people are also continuing to work towards their SQA Award in Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The funding also allowed CLD to purchase Mental Health and Wellbeing Toolkits for each area, including stationery, planning materials and basic resources. Each area was also allocated £500 for the Peer Educators to purchase items of their choice to support the delivery.

A baseline assessment was done pre and post training monitoring confidence, skills and knowledge as well as a short wellbeing survey of participants.

Who we involved:

Young People, CLD Work with Young People Team, SaMH Children and Young People’s Team

The difference it made:

  • Participants and staff increased their own knowledge in Mental Health and Wellbeing (MHW) matters
  • Young People increased their confidence to deliver Peer Educator led sessions locally
  • Each Learning Community was allocated £500 for Peer Educators to choose resources to support delivery in their Learning Communities which will be available to other young people and partners.
  • Supported by CLD Staff, Mental Health and Wellbeing sessions have now been planned in 10 of the 17 Aberdeenshire Learning Communities
  • Sessions being delivered include ‘Chill-Out’ spaces for young people to drop-in at lunch and break times and talks at S1 assemblies and PSE classes.
  • Staff and Young People collaborated and supported each other in a virtual environment building new relationships that have now become face-to-face
  • Monthly catch-up sessions continue for Peer Educators who wish to share what has worked well and what hasn’t worked well to gain support from each other and share experiences and resources across the whole shire.
  • The CLD WWYP team strengthened their relationship with SaMH which has contributed to wider discussions with the GIRFEC Steering group resulting in SaMH putting a worker into the area
  • A second round of training will be delivered in October/November 2021.
  • CLD Workers will be upskilled to access the resources developed for this programme to roll-out MHW Peer Educators Training in each Learning Community Partnership.
  • Existing Peer Educators and CLD Staff will co-deliver future face to face training to new Peer Educators in their area.
  • The Baseline Assessment will be repeated at the end of the first programme.

What we will do differently in the future:

Workshop toolkitAs Aberdeenshire is a geographically large and rural authority, meeting virtually gave more young people an opportunity to take part without having to travel long distances, however, in the future we would like to include some face-to-face sessions.

We would change the timing of delivery as SQA assessments were organised to take place mid training course. We are planning a second tranche which will avoid major exam/assessment stress times.

We are particularly encouraging young people to take part from the seven remaining learning communities in Aberdeenshire to ensure young people in all areas of the Local Authority have an opportunity to take part.

We included a weekly session evaluation in the training. Through feedback from participants we are re-designing the training to reduce the 2 hour session to a 1.5hr session for future programmes.

Improvement questions

  • How do I identify the needs of young people in the current circumstances?
  • How am I helping young people to continue to engage in learning and wider opportunities?
  • What support and information can I signpost young people to?
  • How might the support and provision for young people need to be adapted or done differently during Covid-19?
  • How can I raise awareness of the needs of young people during this time and ensure that their needs and voices are heard in recovery planning?
  • How am I measuring the impact of new approaches and services and evolving these to suit the needs of young people?
  • How am I measuring the impact of new approaches and services and evolving these to suit the needs of adults, young people and families?