The issue of mental well-being has risen to the top of the agenda in recent years, including for De Ambrassade and youth work. Saying that the mental well-being of children and young people is under pressure and that mental health problems are more visible in places where children and young people meet, such as youth work, is stating the obvious. So what can youth work do? How do we tackle the issue, and is this really the role of youth work?
We wrote a vision statement (dutch) on mental well-being and defined several transition paths to get started. One of these pathways is developing a mental well-being framework in youth work. This has several aims:
- to give youth work an anchor and a language to formulate its own mental well-being policy tailored to your organisation;
- to define the role and responsibility of youth work in the mental well-being of children and young people;
- Build bridges to other sectors (especially well-being);
- Provide examples, concrete tools and support.
Youth work is already taking many initiatives to strengthen the mental well-being of children and young people. Every step taken counts enormously for children and young people, and we should continue to monitor these efforts. But what if we genuinely harnessed the power of youth work and worked towards a future where mental well-being is a given for every child and young person? This Playfield is designed to help you do just that. It is a framework you can use in conjunction with your organisation's integrity policy.
The 'Playfield of mental well-being' is not a rigid tool to be followed from A to Z, but rather a 'playfield of possibilities' (hence the name) to start the thinking exercise within your youth work organisation. The 'Playfield of mental well-being' was designed in a generalist way and is aimed at all youth work organisations, whether they work with volunteers or professionals. All this is linked to the integrity policy at the organisational level, because here too you are working on a policy of promotion (quality) and prevention. It is up to you to translate this Playfield into your organisation.
In this document, you will find theory on mental well-being (what is it), and we will create a shared language. We define what the 'playfield' is, the role and responsibility of the youth worker, and provide tools and support to get started.