Funded by local housing association, Livv Housing Group, and community interest company, Evolving Mindset, Knowsley Young Minds provides vital mental health support and training to young people across the borough. The programme has had a positive impact on the lives of many, including 18-year-old Libby Jordan from Kirkby.
Last autumn, Libby was headed into her second year of college while at the same time trying to cope with her parents’ divorce. Realising the impact on her mental wellbeing, she discovered Knowsley Young Minds, a project run by Evolving Mindset.
Based in Prescot, Merseyside, Knowsley Young Minds offers young people aged 14-24 who are facing mental health challenges with access to a variety of free services. This includes workshops, one-to-one mentoring, mental health qualifications, education support groups, voluntary opportunities and employability support.
Libby said: “When I went back to college, I found it difficult to focus. My grades were dropping and with everything going on at home, I was struggling to deal with it all. My mum saw a flyer for Knowsley Young Minds, so we went along to a one-to-one session. I walked out of there feeling lighter and I had a good feeling about how the support on offer could be a step in the right direction for me.
“I went along to weekly workshops and would sit and listen to talks being delivered by other young people. As they were of a similar age, I could relate to them more. The sessions weren’t just discussions either; we’d have movie nights, do arts and crafts, or order a takeaway and sit round chatting. It was about bringing people together in a safe space and getting involved in whatever you felt comfortable with.”
Knowsley Young Minds aims to nurture future generations by offering education-based services where young people can learn about themselves and how to help others. This includes supporting them with mental health qualifications.
Libby continued: “After a few months of being involved in the project, where I also volunteered at events, I could really see a difference in myself. I developed a real interest in mental health and with my confidence growing, I worked towards my Level 1 Safeguarding and Level 1 First Aid in Mental Health qualifications.
“In the new year, I started to deliver my own sessions on topics that I was passionate about. My favourite was the workshop I led on overcoming procrastination. Thanks to the skills I’ve picked up to help others, I’ve become a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on for family members and friends, as well as colleagues at work too. I love finding out what’s going on in people’s minds and trying to support them where I can.”
Libby’s skills, knowledge and passion to understand and promote mental health continued to grow through her work with Knowsley Young Minds. In January, she was hired by Evolving Mindset as a part-time co-facilitator for the project. This role is alongside her full-time job that she secured – and went on to gain a manager promotion – during the time she was on the programme. Libby utilised the employability support element of the project to help strengthen her CV and interview skills.
Reflecting on her journey, Libby concluded: “Projects like Knowsley Young Minds are rare, and it’s made me realise how important it is to understand, look after, and talk about your mental health. Whether it’s a teenager looking to stay out of trouble or someone trying to juggle college or university with work, driving, social life and everything in between, all of this can be a lot for a young person and having somewhere to go like this is amazing.
“People comment on how quiet I used to be and now I’m like a whole different person (in a good way!). I’ve figured that it’s okay to be vulnerable. Knowsley Young Minds has helped to break barriers and create a supportive environment for young people facing various challenges and I couldn’t be more thankful for what it’s done for me.”
Since the launch of Knowsley Young Minds project in April 2021, over 420 young people from across the borough have accessed the service. 231 have completed qualifications and 317 have completed training. Evolving Mindset has also educated a further 843 young people on first aid and mental health, thanks to its ‘mini medics’ sessions.
The programme ensures wrap-around care by extending free support and qualifications to parents, carers and guardians of those who use the service.
Phil Noon, Director of Evolving Mindset, said: “Data has suggested that around 80% of young people are more likely to talk to another young person about their Mental Health difficulties, which is why running a programme like Knowsley Young Minds was so important to us.
“I’m really proud of how far it’s come and we’re starting to reap the benefits now. To see people like Libby, who came to workshops and volunteered with us, gained qualifications, and is now playing an integral role in helping us to support other young people – it’s what we envisioned from the start. She’s been on a journey through the programme and is just one example of a great success story.
“Evolving Mindset is committed to tackling the stigma of mental health and together through our partnership with Livv we’re able to make a real difference to the young people in our community.”
Leann Hearne, CEO of Livv Housing Group, commented: “Young people are the future and by supporting them, educating them and nurturing them, we can empower them to be the catalyst of positive mental health change. I’m so pleased to hear how Knowsley Young Minds has impacted the lives of people like Libby – it’s truly inspiring how she overcame her own challenges and has become a role model for other people her age.
“With the significance of World Mental Health Day, mental health awareness and making sure people know about the support that’s available is so important, not just today but every day. Our partnership with Evolving Mindset is invaluable and we really do appreciate all the fantastic work they do to support our customers and communities.”
To find out more about Livv Housing Group visit www.livvhousinggroup.com or for more information about Knowsley Young Minds, please contact email@example.com