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Young people’s mental health during lockdown: Gareth Sorsby of YMCA Exeter interviewed

04 June 2020

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“All that we’ve ever done is about getting young people out of their rooms and into the community and working alongside us, and through lockdown we’ve been doing the opposite of that. . .  So that has been very difficult.”

On this week’s podcast, Ed Thornton talks to Gareth Sorsby, joint CEO of YMCA Exeter, about the impact of the coronavirus on an organisation whose work is grounded in face-to-face social contact and community integration. Eighty-seven per cent of young people at YMCA Exeter have reported that they struggle with self-harm, depression, and anxiety, all of which have risen as a result of the current crisis; Gareth explains how they have adapted their services to cope.

From video conferencing youth groups, to virtual coffee shops, daily art competitions and group gaming sessions, the team at YMCA Exeter are doing everything that they can to ensure that the most vulnerable in society can live anxiety-free. 

“I have been really pleased with the resilience of young people: how they do get on with it, how they do figure out ways to cope,” Gareth says. “And they do reach out for support where they can get it, as well.”

Find out more about YMCA Exeter’s work here. A Covid-19 resources page is here.

Podcast edited by Serena Long.

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