20 years ago whilst working in central London, I became involved in a project called “Off the Streets and into Work.” The aim being to help homeless people into housing and employment using a multi-agency approach. As a project we offered life skills, employability skills, functional skills, housing advice and, the part I was involved with, skills training. Roll on 20 years and I’m back working with vulnerable young people at risk of homelessness here at BHYP #YouthHomelessness. So what has changed in the last 20 years? Our approach to mental health is what has changed.
At BYHP we offer all of the advice and training that we did all those years ago. What we also offer though is counselling, family mediation and mental health work. What a difference to all those years ago when no training was given to me on recognising the signs of a mental health illness and indeed mental health was rarely mentioned unless talking about an entrenched rough sleeper.
We all know the statistics: 1 in 4 adults will experience a mental illness at some point each year in the UK; 3 in 4 mental illnesses start in childhood; 4 in 10 rough sleepers have a mental health problem and as we know homelessness and mental health often go hand in hand.
My new role as Wellbeing Support Worker here at BYHP, working in partnership with CAMHS, is a preventative role offering early intervention to young people with the aim of reducing the need for more specialist interventions in the future. So, although we have a long way to go, it is reassuring to know that there is a greater shift towards the recognition of mental health and the role early intervention can play in offering support to vulnerable young people.
If you would like any help or advice relating to anything you have read here, or would like any other support please do get in touch with us:
01295 259 442
Our blog is a great way to stay up to date with current events and projects, stories from our young people and the general goings on at BYHP.