The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many aspects of young people’s lives, from their education to their relationships with family and friends. This had put on a strain on many young people’s mental health, with calls for greater provision and access to mental health support services. In response to the pandemic Chanua Health have developed the NeuroLove platform that provides free online support services for young people age 8–25 years. Here Shaunna Devine, one of the social therapist at NeuroLove, tells us more about the platform and how it aims to support young people.
Neurolove is an online platform for young people, which is accessible via a website on computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The platform provides range of digitally delivered interventions to improve the mental and physical health of young people aged 8 to 25 years. The platform was born out the Neuro Champions project that has been delivered over the last 3 years, and uses games and creative arts to support young people to develop the knowledge and tools to support their own mental health.
Workers at Chanua Health were extremely concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on young people’s mental health, especially those who are care experienced or those who have limited social support. The pandemic has caused many vital services that often support vulnerable children to be limited or paused, leaving many children alone and vulnerable. NeuroLove was co-developed and launched within one month of the announcement of lockdown and young people working alongside Chanua’s team of developers, designers and therapists rapidly built the platform for a launch at the end of April 2020. We ensure that young people’s voices are heard through the Neurolove platform. Young people have been welcomed to give suggestions via workshops held virtually. Young people gave insights and contributed to the creation of the website and posts.
Neurolove’s primary aim is to keep young people socially connected through online workshops, social therapy, psychological therapy and online resources in these difficult times. The platform offers 4 main services, catering for a range of mental health support needs:
Social and Psychological Therapy
Supporting children and young people who may be isolated, experiencing emotional problems or going through a life transition, social therapy is delivered by a trained therapist who can offer psychoeducational support, mentoring and befriending to young people via chat, telephone or video call. This level of support is similar to that offered by NHS Tier 2 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Our team of friendly social therapists are young people with lived experiences, including having experience of the care system and mental health services themselves. For young people with more complex needs we can offer support from a trained clinical psychologist or psychological therapist, similar to Tier 3 CAMHS support.
Workshops and online groups
Online workshops are delivered regularly by facilitators that invite young people to learn new skills like yoga, art, baking or digital app development. Alongside workshops, the NeuroLove platform provides current resources to engage in self-help or even relax by watching online zoo streams.
Online resources and downloadable worksheets
On the NeuroLove website users can find online resources such as recipes, gardening tips and breathing exercises. There are a range of free downloadable worksheets to help support physical and emotional wellbeing, such as sleep diaries and colouring worksheets. This part of the website is consistently updated based on suggestions and requests from site users.
Alongside the NeuroLove platform we run projects to give care leavers voices a platform to be heard. For example, as part of the Sheffield Documentary Festival, a group of young care leavers at Neurolove are telling their own stories of the care system through micro-documentaries. These young care leavers have been welcomed into the film industry to work alongside experienced professionals. These films will tell the personal accounts of the failures of the judicial and fostering services in order to break the stigma. Please check out Shaunna’s blog talking about this project.
Between April and July 2020, NeuroLove delivered 58 social and psychological therapy sessions supporting 131 children and young people, connected with 1,216 attendees at group and live events hosted on the platform, YouTube and Instagram TV, and their resources and information were accessed over 8,000 times.
Find out more
Chanua Health: https://chanua.co.uk/