LINK East Fife Mental Health Adolescent Befriending Project - #BefriendingIs never feeling judged or pressured

Tue 26 Oct 2021

LINK Adolescent Project was set up in January 2003 to help young people (12 to 18 year olds) improve their resilience, self-esteem, confidence and mental wellbeing, through the support of a consistent and reliable befriender. LINK provides comprehensive induction training as well as ongoing training for our volunteers to equip them with the skills and knowledge required for being a befriender. Our volunteers have an understanding of the challenges many young people face today and can provide a consistent, reliable, non-judgemental 1-to-1 befriending service. Volunteers also offer emotional and practical support as well as social integration which is of particular importance in our rural communities. Through regular face-to-face, 1-to-1 contact the volunteer builds a positive, trusting relationship with the young person, which through time, improves the young person's overall mental health and wellbeing.


My LINK Experience

Before I was referred to LINK, I felt a bit lost. I had just been discharged from my current services due to my age and they said that LINK was the best thing they could offer in terms of aiding transition from leaving services and starting “adult life”. I had no idea what to expect.

Knowing that my befriending experience was going to be online made me slightly apprehensive but it wasn’t long before I got matched up to my befriender. The thing I liked most about being remote is that I had time to formulate an answer over text messaging, meaning I was able to say exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it, which could be hard for me in face-to-face situations. It was helpful because sometimes I didn’t want to say what I was talking about out loud, so writing it down in messaging made me feel way more relaxed. My befriender was so easy to talk to and I never felt judged or pressured to say certain things. He made me feel happier in myself and much more normal because he had been through some of the same experiences as me. I know that we will keep in contact.  When we came to the end of our befriending journey, I thought I wouldn’t be ready, but I was, and I think that’s when you know that a service has done its job properly.

I was over the moon when I was asked if I would like to be a befriender, but I was worried that I couldn’t live up to how amazing my befriender was. However, I knew that I wanted to do my best to support another young person in the same way I was. Being on the other side of the befriending relationship has been a new experience but I am really enjoying it so far, having had a unique perspective coming from an online befriending experience.

Overall, my befriender and LINK will never know what he’s actually done for me and I don’t think I’d be the same individual I am today without them!


By LINK East Fife Mental Health Adolescent Befriending Project

If you're inspired and would like to get involved please visit: