Sonas (happiness in Gaelic) works to improve the mental health and well-being of children and youth in the local community and works in partnership with the Moray Council. It consists of a number of our various services, including some of the CBT-based programs we run in elementary and middle schools, such as Bounce Back and Blues Program.
The magnitude of the mental health problem cannot be underestimated, it is a growing crisis. Over the past 25 years, rates of depression and anxiety among teens have increased by 70 percent. The impact of mental health problems on young people’s lives is enormous. Children and young people with mental health problems are more likely to have negative life experiences at an early age, which can damage their life chances as they grow older.
With that in mind, this crisis needs to be addressed as early as possible, and our programs and services in this area focus on an early intervention and prevention approach. The mental health and well-being of children and young people is a complex issue with no one-size-fits-all solution. Addressing the issue as early as possible is critical, but partnerships are needed to effectively address this issue. Working with local governments, health and welfare, schools and other organizations gives us a wide range of tools that meet the needs of children, youth and families.
Through partnerships, we have been able to create a single point of access to enable young people and families to access the right support at the right time. Sonas works with the entire family to provide support as well as educate parents so they can feel better equipped to help their children with their future mental health.
One of the most valuable partnerships associated with our Sonas service is with children and young people themselves. Listening to the voices of young people, hearing their concerns and ideas is invaluable, and this is what we have instilled in the ministry.
The star of our Sonas launch event was undoubtedly Fraser Cameron, the young man we hired to spearhead the gathering of young people’s opinions through our ‘Experience Expert Group’. This group aims to provide a collaborative production model to meet the needs of young people. I was very impressed with Frazier’s passion, warmth and ability to reach out to young people who were previously reluctant to seek help. Through his work, he ensured that their voices were heard and helped connect our practitioners with them.
The mental illness crisis we are seeing in young people requires urgent attention, investment and partnership, but also requires us to listen to young people’s concerns and be prepared to adapt and tailor the support they need to provide them with the best possible. start in life. I am immensely proud of the work we are doing in this area and am optimistic about how we can work together to continue making progress in this area.
Paul Carberry, director of Action for Children in Scotland