CORONAVIRUS: Going the extra mile
A study by Young Minds of over 2,000 young people with a history of mental health needs has revealed the pressure that the pandemic and lockdown has put on young people.
The survey shows that 83% of respondents said that their mental health was worse during lockdown. Key factors stated included: school and university closures; loss of routine and structure; loss of social connection and no access to usual avenues of help.
In light of these concerning statistics, the work that our evangelists, projects and centres of mission do to support young people is now even more important.
Our Bradford Centre of Mission is home to Sorted – a church by young people, for young people, and it also runs youth clubs, home groups, one-to-one mentoring and works in local schools.
Lead Evangelist, Tracy Milne describes the first few weeks of lockdown as ‘horrendous’, having a huge impact on the mental health of the young people, as the normal activities and routines of the centre of mission had to stop. Some young people have attempted suicide, others have been ignoring social distancing guidelines, and some vulnerable young people are living in difficult or dangerous home situations.
Other surveys carried out by other organisations, including the University of Sheffield and Ulster University and the Royal Society for Public Health show worrying similar themes of anxiety, loneliness and the need for more support for young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Tracy and her team have recognised that the young people really need their help and support even more at this time and are going the extra mile to put things in place so they’re able to offer practical, spiritual and emotional support to the young people at a distance. This has included:
Ringing all young people who are or have been involved in Sorted in the past once a week. To date, during lockdown, they’ve made over 1,100 individual phone calls to young people.
Regular online sessions for young people on Wednesdays (Bible study), Fridays (social) and Sundays (worship). Some of these sessions have over 50 young people attending them.
Online evangelism and discipleship
The result of this support and encouragement is that the team at Bradford Centre of Mission are seeing some amazing signs of God at work in the young people they know.
One young person, who has been supported by the centre of mission after they attempted suicide, is now going into school to help make facemasks for the NHS, playing an active role within Sorted and making plans for the future, including going to college.
A young man in his twenties, who attended Sorted when he was a teenager, was contacted by the team during lockdown. He has now come back to Sorted and is ‘full on for God’.
The number of young people engaging with Sorted is growing as it has moved online.
We continue to pray for more amazing stories of God at work during this difficult time and for more and more young people to come to know His unconditional love for them.
If you'd like to support Bradford Centre of Mission as they continue to support young people through the COVID-19 pandemic, please donate online now.
Read more stories of transformation in other areas of our work here.