Last Updated: Thursday, January 19, 2023

Aberdeenshire CLD - mental health and wellbeing peer educators

What is this?

Aberdeenshire Council Community Learning and Development (CLD) Service worked with Young People Team to create a virtual Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Who is this for?

Staff with managerial responsibility for community learning and development and further education and all educators who have a role to play in supporting young people and an interest in mental health or peer education programmes.

Community 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 remotely through Google Meet using PowerPoint presentations, break-out room discussions and online videos.

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What was done

Peer educator training sessions were delivered by CLD workers over three evenings. Funding allowed the Scottish Association For Mental Health (SaMH) Children and Young People’s team to deliver their mental health ambassadors award over 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. Fourteen 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 peer educators to purchase items of their choice to support the delivery.

A baseline assessment was done before and after delivery of training, and monitored confidence, skills and knowledge, and included a short wellbeing survey of participants.

Who was involved

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

The difference it made

Participants and staff have increased their own knowledge in Mental Health and Wellbeing (MHW) matters and young people have built confidence to deliver peer educator led sessions locally. They have collaborated and supported each other in a virtual environment, building new relationships that have now become face-to-face. Mental health and wellbeing sessions supported by CLD Staff 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 assemblies and  personal and social education (PSE) classes.

The CLD WWYP team have 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. Each learning community was allocated £500 for peer educators to choose resources to support delivery in their learning communities. These resources are now available to other young people and partners. Monthly catch-up sessions continue for peer educators who wish to share what has worked well and what has not, gain support from each other and share experiences and resources across the whole shire. 

CLD workers are being upskilled to access the resources developed for this programme and 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

Potential future adjustments

As 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 face-to-face sessions would also be beneficial. SQA assessments were organised to take place mid course and future sessions will avoid major exam and assessment stress times.

Participants and staff  are 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. In addition, feedback from participants indicated training sessions could be re-designed to reduce the 2 hour session to a 90 minute session.

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?