NORTH Ayrshire Council’s Youth Participatory Budget scheme has provided a welcome boost for a host of youth groups and projects since it was launched in 2016.

One such project was the Mind Your Health toolkit, which received £6,000 of funding in the last round of the process in 2017.

The pack, which contains a wealth of advice and contacts for young people experiencing a wide range of mental health issues, also contains real life stories from young people who have experienced mental ill health, as well as learning workshops and items to help teach distraction techniques.

The pack also contains advice for teachers, carers and youth workers who may be struggling to find the best ways to help young people in their care who are experiencing difficulties.

Now available in every secondary school across North Ayrshire, the Toolkit was initially the idea of former Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament Courtney Gemmell, who raised the issues surrounding young people’s mental health with the parliament in term 2015-17, leading to a series of key recommendations being made after a consultation period.

Inspired by these recommendations, Courtney – working alongside Donna Anderson, Democracy and Participation Officer at North Ayrshire Council – devised the kit, with the Youth Participatory Budget grant covering the production costs for the project.

The Toolkit, which was launched last November and is aimed at youths aged 12 to 18 years, has also been issued to residential care homes and to community and youth workers.

Courtney said: “I created the toolkit with the hopes of tackling the stigma around mental health and to help young people understand that we all go through stages of feeling low, anxious and stressed.

“I wanted to show that feeling like this is okay and that there are ways to overcome it, even though at the time it might not feel like it.

“I said from the very beginning that if the toolkit is helping one young person that’s a job well done to me. I really hope the young people are benefitting from this resource.”

To find out more about North Ayrshire Council’s Participatory Budgeting schemes, visit www.northayrshire. community/get-involved/ participatory-budgeting-in-north-ayrshire