Hear Our Voice (HOV) is a mental health project for 11 to 19 year olds led by Young People Cornwall (YPC), a community and voluntary sector organisation supporting and delivering youth work projects and influenced by AMBIT (adolescent mentalization-based integrative treatment), an approach to working with socially excluded young people with mental health problems and co-occurring difficulties
Hear Our Voice (HOV) is a mental health project for 11 to 19 year olds led by Young People Cornwall (YPC), a community and voluntary sector organisation supporting and delivering youth work projects and influenced by AMBIT (adolescent mentalization-based integrative treatment), an approach to working with socially excluded young people with mental health problems and co-occurring difficulties. HOV offer one-to-one youth work, psychoeducation and low intensity CBT-based interventions, targeted wellbeing group work in schools and community settings, and participation opportunities. They also provide support to help young people access or transition out of specialist services, as well training for professionals, parents and volunteers. YPC provides services for young people including mentoring, victim support, alternative education, youth work and social action opportunities.
HOV aims to be a flexible and responsive service, using a youth work approach to engage young people who often struggle to engage in statutory settings. Youth workers will meet with young people at a time and venue of the young person’s choosing including schools, colleges, youth centres, coffee shops or GP surgeries, which they can access without parental/carer support if they prefer. The service does not have formal eligibility criteria and accepts self and parent/carer referrals, while professionals are encouraged to complete referrals jointly with young people. Referrals are triaged in a joint referral meeting with other teams from YPC for risk, priority and intervention type. The service adopts a key worker approach where this is required, including making referrals, liaising with families, schools, GPs and specialist services, and attending appointments with young people. They can also support young people to attend multi-agency meetings or access specialist mental health or social care interventions. HOV also has a proactive DNA follow up approach to arranging new appointments where they are missed or cancelled. When preferred, they use informal communication methods such as text, online messaging and social media to communicate directly with young people as well as parents/carers.
Co-production and participation
Young people have opportunities to influence service development and strategic priorities at a service, county and regional level, as HOV recognises that youth participation and involvement are important in promoting wellbeing and resilience. The project has been designed and developed in response to ongoing consultation with young people, where young people take an active role in planning each group programme, have regular opportunities to give feedback and where possible co-deliver programmes. They have recently begun offering the RSPH Youth Health Champions training programme, as part of a peer mentoring offer. HOV facilitates the Cornwall CAMHS Young People’s Board and is a member of the CYP IAPT South West Collaborative. Young people have been closely involved in the development of the Local CAMHS Transformation Plan, and the Project Manager represents young people’s views at a senior level, working with commissioners and service leads as a member of the CAMHS Partnership Board. They are working with Youth Access and consulting with young people around the YIACS model (Youth Information, Advice and Counselling Service) to explore ways of further developing and integrating services in line with this framework.
Staff are experienced youth and community workers who have undertaken additional training in mental health, including Mental Health First Aid and ASIST suicide intervention training. In addition, the project manager has completed the CYP IAPT PG CERT Enhanced Evidence-Based Practice for Children, Young People and Families. 2 staff are currently undertaking training through the CYP IAPT programme to deliver the new CYP Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner role and 1 staff has recently completed training in the Thrive Approach, increasing the project’s capacity to provide evidence-based interventions in non-clinical settings..
HOV have close links with NHS and social care services, other voluntary and community organisations and are part of a partnership delivering local authority commissioned early help services to young people aged 11 – 19 years across the county. The project is involved in a CAMHS local transformation plan multi-agency pilot bringing NHS Primary Mental Health services together with education, social care and independent sector providers to ensure that young people have access to a choice of support that meets their needs and interests. The service also works closely with schools, colleges and community groups to deliver mental health awareness workshops and training for staff and young people.
What makes this service an example of positive practice?
HOV has a strong focus on mental health promotion, education and early intervention, offering education and evidence-based early interventions in a non-stigmatising, informal and accessible service, provided in the community and designed around the needs and preferences of young people. The service is flexible and able to look holistically at young people’s needs and offer interventions in response to individual circumstances. Young people have choices and there are clear pathways within the organisation enabling young people to access additional support and opportunities.
Young people have a strong voice within the project and the organisation as a whole; they are seen as assets and experts in their own lives. Young people are consulted with regularly, have opportunities to give feedback, are involved in decision-making, service development and co-production; and have opportunities to influence service development and strategic priorities at a county and regional level. More widely YPC facilitates young people’s involvement in local authority, public health and community development processes across the county, including the members of youth parliament. Youth participation and involvement are seen as important in promoting wellbeing and resilience, as part of a young person’s journey.
LA, Kernow CCG and Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner. Also funding from NHS England – CYP IAPT roles, DH Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund, St James Place fund.
1 training coordinator and participation lead (25hrs)
Circa 549,400 (2015); 148,000 under 25s
130 received in 12 months from August 2016- 2017. Of these 111 attended groups, 45 received 1 to 1 support, 15 did not engage or were signposted to more appropriate provision. 10 referrals to specialist services were made – including CAMHS, CMHT, social care, Addaction, Brook. In addition – in same period – 1510 young people attended Mental Health Awareness workshops in school/college, 60 parents attended CYP Mental Health Training modules, 310 professionals and volunteers attended CYP Mental Health Training modules.
Prevention and resilience – universal and early intervention for at risk
Access and advice – consultation lines, triage and signposting