“Super Youth Worker”
Drabstraat 18, 9000 Gent, Belgium
A practice of processes and methods
PONT-ON is a project that aims to bridge the gap between youth work and mental health care. The project originated from the organisation OverKop Gent, which is an open house for youngsters between 12-25. OverKop supports youngsters with a mixed methods approach in a cross sectorial cooperation between different youth work and mental health care partners.
We support youth workers who are facing challanges related to the mental health of the youngsters that they work with, their colleagues or themselves. We do this by organising free trainings, workshops and intervisions related to specifiic mental health topics, giving consultation to youth workers related to specific cases or general topics, and by refering them to the organisations with the right expertise to help then. We also work with mental health services to make them more aware of the opportunities and challanges youthworkers are faced with, and coaxing them to make their services easier to use by youth workers.
The PONT-ON project started as a small project with support of the local government in 2021. It was quickly picked up as a innovative practice and motivated the flemish government to allocate more resources to similar projects in the Flanders region.
PONT-ON reinforces the bridge between mental health and youth work in three ways:
Even though the project is quite young, we note some positive outcomes:
After a possitive evaluation of this small local project, the flemish government allocated funding to the OverKop Network to install similar projects spread across flanders.
Core principles of youth work