A VIRTUAL mental health forum to help young people struggling throughout Covid has been set up by a Glasgow councillor and a local school pupil.

Build Back Kinder was established and co-founded by Labour councillor Aileen McKenzie and Hayden Atkin to allow adolescents to connect virtually and realise they are not the only people who are struggling particularly through Covid.

The organisation believes that those who have experienced poor mental health can be confused and distressed when they are facing thoughts and feelings completely alien to them while friends seem to be behaving typically for someone their age.

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Teenagers and young people in this situation can contact councillor McKenzie via email and she will get in touch with a zoom link to set up a discussion while restrictions remain in place because of Covid-19.

She said: “Build Back Kinder was established and co-founded by myself and Hayden Atkin as a way of adolescents being able to connect virtually, realise they are not the only people who are struggling particularly through Covid, and be signposted to third sector organisations that can help them.

“This can also take pressure off their emotions whilst they wait the already subscribed CAMHS waiting list with even more pressure on the service through the pandemic.

“It’s wonderful being able to speak with young people from across the city about how they are feeling and feel like you are helping them.”

Councillor McKenzie has previously raised concerns about the lack of support for teachers and school staff who are also subjected to increased stress and worry as a result of the virus.

She has urged the council to ensure that pupils and staff are given sufficient support and advice as they continue to face their new normal.

Over the coming weeks the Glasgow Times will look into the steps taken to ensure pupils and staff are getting the mental and physical health assistance they need.

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Ms McKenzie continued: “At the end of the day our children and young people are the most important in the city.

“Nothing is more important than their safety and their education.

“If Build Back Kinder can make one learner feel less anxious about the situation our schools face or point them to an organisation

who can, then that is a success itself.”

Hayden Aitken who is a sixth-year pupil in Glasgow highlighted some of the concerns he and his peers face particularly during coronavirus.

He said: “My mental health was massively effecting during lockdown especially with the fact that I wasn’t allowed to go and see my friends or family.

“The situation with the SQA made things worse and sometimes I felt as if we weren’t going to get back to normality. It’s really scary and worrying especially attending school at this time during the pandemic.

“Once restrictions were down a bit, I had the opportunity to have a socially distanced picnic with my friends which was quite fun in our local park.

“It was really good to see school friends who you haven’t seen in six months but it was quite emotional as well.”

The next forum will take place via zoom at 6pm on Sunday, November 15. To access the link or for more information email aileen.mckenzie@glasgow.gov.uk