08 February 2019
A free and confidential support service has seen an increase in the number of young people seeking counselling and advice since it moved closer to the centre of St Helier.
The Youth Enquiry Service – known as the YES project – is a partnership between the Jersey Youth Service and Jersey Youth Trust and had a total of 305 young people referred for counselling, advice and information in 2018.
This compares to 223 counselling referrals in 2017 and to 125 referrals in 2013.
A number of those young people who use the drop-in facility seek support for mental health issues, as well as a range of other concerns, so all of this week youth workers and counsellors, who work at the YES project, have been raising awareness of the importance of children and young people’s mental health.
It is part of an awareness campaign for Children’s Mental Health Week, from 4 - 10 February, which the department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills and the States of Jersey Police have been supporting to “shine a spotlight” on the importance of children and young people’s mental health.
Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois, said that the YES project is an excellent example of the Government of Jersey, the Jersey Youth Service and partners working together to provide an essential service.
Senator Vallois said: “Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood. We need to support the best start in life for all children. This Council of Ministers will embed health and wellbeing considerations at the heart of all government policy as set out in the Common Strategic Policy document.
“The YES project provides a service of advice and support, which has got the best interests of young people at heart. This is a non-judgmental space for young people to talk about how they are feeling. Any young person with concerns about mental health problems can drop-in and get the support they need in complete confidence.”
Mark Capern, head of the Jersey Youth Service, said: “Moving YES to a “shop” front has improved accessibility and it is easy for young people to just walk in off the street when they need support, advice and someone to talk to. The “shop” has also helped to raise the profile of YES, with staff also going out to raise the profile of the service in schools and at public events.
“Should any young person under 25 years old need any help, support, advice or need someone to talk with, our staff are ready to listen.”
The YES project is supported by the Government of Jersey and works with a number of partners across various agencies to provide counselling and information to young people. Its services are free, confidential and independent.
Chief Inspector of the States of Jersey Police, Mark Hafey, said: “We are committed to working with partners to bring this important issue to the forefront of people’s minds. We want to ensure that we have the mechanisms in place to refer some of the young people that we deal with to the right services, to help them with their individual needs and requirements. Our children are tomorrow’s future and we have a responsibility to get this right.”
Six professionally qualified counsellors work for YES. The service is open to young people aged between 14 and 25, five days a week, from 12pm to 6pm.
The YES project is based at the Links, Eagle House, La Colomberie in St Helier. It deals with enquiries from bereavement, housing, mental health issues, drug and alcohol and sexual health.
Anyone wishing to find out about how to access support in Jersey can do so on the YES project website.