Right Here


Right Here was a five-year young people’s mental health and wellbeing programme developed and managed by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation; it ran from 2009 to 2014.

It funded four local partnerships – in Brighton and Hove, Fermanagh, the London Borough of Newham, and Sheffield – which worked with young people aged 16–25 to co-produce and deliver a range of mental health and wellbeing activities, projects, research and opportunities. Each local partnership was led by a voluntary sector youth work organisation and supported by at least one local organisation with experience of providing mental health services.

The partnerships’ projects were intended to bring lasting benefits to the young people they worked with, the lead organisations and their partners, and to local youth mental health provision. Overall, Right Here hoped to develop detailed, evidence-based ‘models of good practice’ that would be of interest to commissioners nationwide and provide a stimulus for those wishing to commission and fund more effective youth-led mental health interventions focused on early intervention and prevention.

At a time of increasing pressure on public resources overall, and where demands for young people’s mental health services are growing, the Right Here approach presents a path to be explored by others who wish to increase the impact their work has upon young people’s mental health and wellbeing. It will also interest those in charge of funding and commissioning, who wish to make sure that local resources deliver the best possible mental health and wellbeing results for young people. Learning where, when and how to add additional resources, and where existing local resources can be developed, is a challenge at a time when young people’s mental health and wellbeing is increasingly the focus of national debate.

The following articles – co-authored by Mark Brown and Susan Blishen – focus upon the practical lessons learnt by Right Here about ways to manage, develop, evaluate and carry out youth work-led mental health projects for young people.

Right Here also contributed to two sister projects: 1) the Innovation Labs which developed a range of new digital tools to support the mental health of young people 2) Foyer Federation’s Healthy Conversations, to give young people in Foyers the chance to take part in resilience building and influencing activities.


What happens when you focus youth work explicitly on young people’s mental health and wellbeing?

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Many organisations talk about their work in empowering young people, but just how can this be translated into practical actions that work?

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Mental health difficulties can be challenging at the best of times but can be even more so for young people. How did Right Here address this?

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Within mental health we’re always told that people with mental health difficulties should help to shape the services that provide care and support.  What did Right Here find out about this process?

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In mental health, as in other areas of public and charity sectors, we tend to think in terms of ‘services’. What about the important role of relationships?

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Looking back over the second decade of the 21st century, it’s easy to forget that mental health and wellbeing haven’t always had prominence.  What did RH do to put mental health and wellbeing considerations into young people’s lives?

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Traditional wisdom for funders suggests that partnerships are the way to go. Right Here suggests this isn’t always so.

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What more can funders and commissioners do to make co-produced, mental health-informed youth work happen?

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Mark Brown from Social Spider reflects on the findings of a small research study into what young people felt about their involvement in the Right Here programme.

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The four local Right Here projects delivered a range of different activities to promote better mental health and wellbeing amongst young people in their areas.

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The resources listed here are for anyone with an interest in youth work-led mental health: practitioners, commissioners, and funders.

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Mark Brown and Susan Blishen are authors of a series of articles about youth-led, youth work approaches to young people's mental health drawn from the Right Here project.

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