The Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone, not least young people.
New data shows that more young people in Donegal have turned to support services in the past year, seeking help in coping with the uncertainty of the pandemic, with mental health issues, loneliness, and education concerns.
In the last year, Donegal Youth Service has facilitated over 3,200 one to one sessions with young people and have also provided almost 5,000 shorter support sessions in that time.
Gareth Gibson of the DYS Management Team states: “We continually strive to provide the best possible service to young people across Donegal and in these challenging times we have done everything in our power to ensure that young people can avail of supports by enabling staff to access a wide range on online tools to engage with young people and also arrange for face to face meetings in the instances which are more of a crisis in nature.”
In the current climate it may not be surprising to hear that young people are experiencing stress and other mental health issues. In fact, the Donegal Youth Service’s work with young people in the past year has indicated that up to 40% of cases cite mental health as a key challenge, in June of 2020 this figure was at 54%.
Additionally, recent statistics show 26% acknowledging difficulties with social isolation, also down from 53% in June 2020. However, the broad mental challenge of dealing with uncertainty around schooling and education shows 57% of young people we supported also relate to experiencing concerns about school and education, a figure up from 35% in the last 9 months.
Donegal Youth Service Regional Director Lorraine Thompson said “DYS transferred our support service to young people through online platforms as quickly as possible at the start of the pandemic recognising the need to ensure young people had someone to reach out to if needed.”
“Covid19 gave the organisation new challenges but our focus was on providing the best and safest service we could.”
Donegal Youth Service have an experienced team facilitating our One to One listening ear work under the banner of “Youth Talk”. Youth Talk Donegal is a free and confidential one to one support service for young people aged 12-25 years. Young people experiencing difficulty in their life can avail of this support to help them cope with issues such as bullying, sexuality, family conflict, problems at school or friendship/relationship difficulties or anything else they may be struggling with. Young people themselves or parents can call us directly and set up an appointment with one of our professional Youth Talk youth workers. Schools and other professionals can also refer to us directly.
For more information about any Donegal Youth Service programmes and supports please visit www.donegalyouthservice.ie, or find DYS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. DYS is currently offering a mix of online and offline services in line with Government recommendations. Donegal Youth Service is a registered charity. Registered charity number: 20050696.