A NEW service has been launched by the Bridges Project in Musselburgh to help young people cope with the mental health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Called ‘Support4Tomorrow’, the initiative has been supported with a grant of £18,613 from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

It will provide young people with one-to-one sessions that will help them improve their mental health.

Those who will use the service will be aged 14-19, live in East Lothian or Midlothian and have experienced mental health issues during the coronavirus crisis.

Focus areas will include mentoring on coping strategies, routines and physical activities that improve mental health, combating the effects of long periods of social isolation and being cooped up with family, and dealing with pre-existing mental health issues that have been heightened by the pandemic.

It is hoped that tailored support young people receive through Support4Tomorrow will improve their mental wellbeing and reduce the levels of social isolation and anxiety caused by the pandemic.

The service will also encourage young people to participate in physical activities that will enable them to maintain positive mental health and help them manage the transition back to some form of normality.

East Lothian Courier: Support worker Sara Scarfo will deliver Support4Tomorrow for the Bridges Project in Bogpark Road, Musselburgh.Support worker Sara Scarfo will deliver Support4Tomorrow for the Bridges Project in Bogpark Road, Musselburgh.

Support4Tomorrow will be delivered by support worker Sara Scarfo, who has an academic background in psychology from Rome in her native Italy.

Currently a PhD student at Strathclyde University, she will combine the part-time post with Bridges Project with her research.

In addition to being educated in a discipline that has made her highly aware of mental health, Ms Scarfo also has experience of supporting people with various disadvantages.

As a tutor in Rome, she supported young people with challenges such as learning disabilities and social barriers.

Since moving to Scotland, she has worked as a carer for the elderly and adults with disabilities in Edinburgh.

Ms Scarfo said: “Mental health issues have really come to the fore during the rollercoaster we have lived with during the Covid-19 pandemic, and going through your teenage years has become particularly difficult.

“With this service, we will help equip young people to be able to cope with the last years of their adolescence.”

She added: “It is great to be in an organisation that offers so many different types of support to young people depending on their needs. Everyone at Bridges Project has different skills and abilities which, combined, make it work like a great machine.

“I am particularly looking forward to the connections I will make with young people and seeing the impact the support can have.”