Brandon Connect & Counselling Partnership with Arsenal in the Community

The impact of COVID on the life chances of all young people’s prospects cannot be underestimated. This is particularly the case for the young people we are working with, whose mental health problems had previously been a barrier to them engaging in employment, education or training. The pandemic has reduced opportunities for employment and training and therefore led to increased isolation. This has further undermined their sense of hope, increased depressive tendencies and reinforced existing maladaptive patterns of behaviour e.g. typically sleeping during the day, and being on screens until early hours before dawn.

Over this period we have continued to welcome a significant number of young people as part of our ‘Brandon Connect’ and ‘Arsenal in the Community’ Programmes. There have been some significant successes. One young man has come through a long period of furlough and is returning to work, albeit with somewhat reduced hours (two thirds of full time but with 90% pay). Another young man who suffered from severe, chronic social anxiety and depression that led to him dropping out of university has engaged well in a new course at a new university. A third who has suffered from chronic depression, and was particularly affected by the lockdown, went back to college when it restarted in September.

We are currently looking to increase funding to enable us to support many more young people with complex needs and for whom we can make an enormous difference to their life prospects

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