The launch of our new sustainable Mental Health Fund on World Mental Health Day 2019 represents an exciting point in addressing the challenges of mental health in Worcestershire.
The fund has come about through extensive research and many conversations with leading mental health experts across Worcestershire. We are working closely with partner delivery organisations to create a fund which will last and have widespread impacts across Worcestershire, addressing different needs over time.
• Our new fund will between 2020-21 support projects addressing young people and childrens’ mental health and wellbeing issues in Worcestershire.
• The fund will aim to achieve social impacts, focusing on early interventions for low level mental health and wellbeing issues through programmes which raise awareness and support young people to tackle problems at an early stage. This approach will help to save resources longer term.
• We are working with an experienced group of leaders in young people’s mental health in Worcestershire through a virtual steering group.
• For the two years, we will develop partnership working with selected key local organisations - YSS, The Forge (Pupil Referral Unit) and Young Solutions - delivering solid projects, achieving scale and creating sustainable impacts.
• The fund will be part immediate impact- reaching people from 2020 onwards- and part endowment based, so we can invest part of the funding raised to generate sustainable revenue to support and build the fund for the future.
• We have created a match funding pot, with £30k put forward by WCF. We aim to raise at least an additional £30k by Spring 2020.
• We are inviting donations from individuals, businesses and trusts and foundations to create a fund which is sustainable longer term and can have the widest possible impacts across Worcestershire. We wish to build strong partnerships with a selected number of businesses already focusing on mental health within their own organisations.
To get involved or for further information please contact: Lucy Wells (Development Director):
Lucy.firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07909 111912/ www.worcsf.org.uk
YSS (Youth Support Services)
Our experience of working with young people since 1989 shows that they frequently risk passing through the system unnoticed and their unmet needs evolving to become acute over time. An early intervention can avoid problems from escalating, and at YSS we never give up on a young person, regardless of their issues.
Attachment underpins effective engagement and is particularly significant when working with young adults, especially those with a history of poor attachment relationships and childhood trauma. This is relevant in our work, the success of which depends on building trusting relationships with a young person who has been let down in the past, and this takes time.
YSS receive referrals from the police, social services and probation; young people can also self-refer. We work with young people with a range of issues affecting their mental health:
• caring responsibilities
• police custody
• exclusion from mainstream activities
• risk of getting involved in/committing serious violent offences.
Our staff and volunteers are trained and supervised. We are currently undertaking the
Investor in Volunteers award and hold the Matrix Quality Accreditation. We work with the
Police and Crime Commissioner, the Community Rehabilitation Company People Plus, Shropshire and Worcestershire County Councils. Our services are regularly subjected to a Social Return on Investment report.
We would like to provide more training to 15 young people with a view to building their capacity to manage their own mental health. The training would equip them with the necessary skills to maintain good mental health and to develop strategies to cope under pressure. Over the course of the programme, individual young people will be invited to participate in a survey to inform the best way in which we can meet their needs and maintain their wellbeing in the future.
Catherine Kevis, CEO
The Forge Pupil Referral Unit
We work with pupils who display a range of social defences generated by a nervous system that is primed in the main for panic, grief, fear and rage. Poor mental health can be characterised as a lack of capacity within a person, a nervous system, or a culture to respond thoughtfully and helpfully in any given situation where care, play, creativity or curiosity is needed.
Working in a trauma informed way – using relationships to calm our own and others nervous systems, developing awareness of self and others - is key to supporting a change in the minds and bodies of our communities. This involves meaningful contact, play, thought and time experiences in a consistent and regular way. This approach does not simply react to mental ill health but seeks to create an environment where positive mental health will flourish.
The proposal is to use the Trauma Informed Schools UK Delivery Model to develop leaders across the County (not only in schools) in the concept of an ‘emotionally available’ individual. Training programmes would help leaders to use this approach, not simply in immediate interactions but in the development of policy and practice, helping not only ‘clients’ but all those involved with their organisations. This approach has been used to great effect in Cornwall and is having a significant impact on all parts of civil society.
The project could be ready for implementation from the start of 2020 and would be expanded if more resources were to be available.
Sean Williams, Head
Young Solutions Worcestershire is a modern infrastructure charity which serves the youth sector across Worcestershire. We have been providing support to voluntary youth clubs, organisations and community groups for over 20 years. We are a membership organisation working with partners and communities to keep young people safe and involved. We achieve this by managing projects, being a voice and advocate for the voluntary youth sector, providing information and advice, as well as supporting our members with fundraising, practical help and training.
With this additional funding we will work with our members to develop an early intervention project targeting young people that have been identified as having potential mental health issues. The project will enable Young Solutions to extend its current work around mental health first aid training and commission projects to work locally with partners that have identified young people using sport and leisure opportunities to encourage them to address their emerging issues. We will target a range of activities so that the pilots have a potential countywide reach in order that the work can be extended and developed when additional funding is made available.
Pete Sugg, Chief Officer