Platfform for Young People - a new resource for the new generation?
Who are Platfform?
Operating in Wales for the past 30 years under the name of Gofal, the newly named Platfform have completely re-invented themselves as an organisation. Rebranding themselves as a Mental Health and Social Change Charity with a much more modern design - from their logo, website and even their social media. However, there is much more to the transformation than fresh, modern design and a change of name….
They have launched a new digital resource called ‘Platfform for Young People’ which, as an associate writer for TPAS Cymru, I have been asked to review. What I find most interesting about Platfform is that they have chosen to focus on a Trauma Informed approach to services. Instead of focusing on what is ‘wrong’ with someone, this approach looks at an individual’s experiences, what contributed to them and how to use their voices to help change the way public services are provided.
I found it interesting that Platfform are having this fundamental shift. I believe a lack of this approach in the past has contributed to some of my bad experiences in support services, especially housing. So the fact that they have made this their mission, gives me hope that things are changing.
Where does Housing come into it?
Many elements of housing can impact a tenants Mental Health. The quality of housing, how responsive services (or landlords) are, the rate of rent and so much more. By providing good quality homes, with services that understand Mental Health, and Mental Illness, you have the ability to change tenant’s quality of life.
There has been plenty of research into the link between Housing and Mental Health, but I can also speak from my own experiences. I have Bipolar Disorder and I private rented for ten years in total, moving twice. I never felt secure in my tenancies and moving was stressful which had a huge impact on my mental health.
I have been in Council housing for a year now, I have a secure tenancy, an affordable rent, I have the required safety checks and the right support if I need it. I feel safe in my home. Within months of moving in I secured a job, and my mental health has gone from strength to strength. Of course, I still struggle in my own ways but having secure housing and the right support means I can manage my mental illness and live a normal life.
So what is this new development? Platfform for Young People
Platfform for Young People is a fun and interactive website created by, and for, Young People and you can tell. No offence to the older generation, but finally, a website that speaks to me! The website is simple but functional with a responsive design making it easy to navigate on a mobile device, an essential element for the audience. There are plenty of resources available, from blogs, to playlists, activities and even cool interactive games. From browsing the site, it is clear to tell that Platfform is truly an organic creation that has the ability to reach out to young people, and for once… actually engage them.
It isn’t only for Young People though, there are ways for adults to get involved. For example, Flip The Script Friday is a chance for adults, and even organisations, to answer questions that the young people have for them, which I think is a brilliant idea. Growing up, one of the main issues I had when connecting with support services was lack of trust. This idea enables young people to ask the questions they need, familiarising them with organisations that can help them and essentially building that trust.
Platfform for Young People creates a welcoming space, with the opportunity to interact and take part in a variety of activities. There is State of Mind for example, an online wellbeing programme that is open to everyone. They haven’t just included the fun stuff, with plenty of structured activities such as worksheets and writing prompts to participate in.
Would I recommend ‘Platfform for Young People’ as a resource for others?
Absolutely, yes! When you get organic engagement it helps to understand and create better outcomes because people are participating because they want to, there’s no pressure.
Plattform have created the perfect environment to allow young people to do this, and I am here for it. I would definitely recommend Platfform as a resource for Young People in our network, it gives Young People a voice, the opportunity for Young Tenants to have a voice, and that is definitely something we can support and encourage.