Right Here Sheffield

Right Here Sheffield was led by YMCA White Rose.

There were nine partner organisations, including the core delivery partner, the Children and Young People’s Empowerment Project (Chilypep), as well as Sheffield Futures, NHS Sheffield, Sheffield CAMHS, the NSPCC, Sheffield City Council, and Sheffield Health and Social Care. In 2013, Right Here became part of the Interchange Counselling Service, a recently formed CIC, which had previously been part of the YMCA.

The place

Sheffield is a city in South Yorkshire with a population of around 550,000 that has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base. It was initially intended that Right Here Sheffield would work in north-east Sheffield – an area of deprivation, unemployment and a large migrant population. Chilypep, one of the project’s principal partners, is based in the area.

However, as the project unfolded, its remit changed to attract young people from different areas of the city. This was partly due to the fact that one of the key referral agencies in north-east Sheffield was not forthcoming with referrals due to cuts to its service. In addition, young people were being referred to the project from outside the targeted area – thanks to the YMCA and other partner or stakeholder organisations – and Right Here Sheffield did not wish to exclude them.

The young people

The original intention was to focus on: young people not in education, employment or training; teenage/young parents; and BME young people. In the event, Right Here Sheffield’s cohort was wider than this, with the project working more generally with young people who had experienced mental health issues.

Right Here Sheffield’s youth panel was established very early on in the project. Known as STAMP (Support, Think, Act, Motivate, Participate), it helped recruit Right Here staff; provided input on the strategic direction of Right Here Sheffield; led on the design, development and implementation of anti-stigma materials; attended operational and strategic partnership meetings; and helped with the delivery of Right Here activities. As the project progressed, the STAMP group increasingly focused on delivering activities themselves and on influencing local service provision.

In 2011, Right Here Sheffield set up two new young people’s groups: the Mental Health Ambassadors and the Y-Act Counselling Group, both comprising young people with mental health difficulties. The Ambassadors were trained to act as advocates and role models for other young people experiencing mental health issues, initially in 2011 and then another cohort in 2012. The Y-Act group researched mental health services for 16–25 year olds across the country and online and worked with an artist to explore their own mental health and use of services.

The activities

Therapeutic group work activities

Right Here Sheffield undertook a variety of medium-term (8–12-week) therapeutic group work activities in colleges and other settings, including a successful anger management course, ‘Cage the Rage’, a series of counselling sessions held in non-traditional settings, ‘Walk and Talk’, and sessions for students in a local sixth form college, focusing on mental health awareness, emotional literacy and reducing stigma.

The project also delivered a range of shorter-term (up to eight weeks) resilience-building, awareness-raising, and relaxation and stress reduction sessions in schools, colleges, universities, and other locations across the city. For example, the ‘Relax and Recharge’ sessions were general introductions to mental health and, in particular, stress. These sessions were aimed at getting young people thinking about the issues and whether they would like to engage beyond that first session.

Creative activities

The project developed a variety of these, including photography, creative writing, dance, and drumming. The activities were designed to bring young people together, build confidence and resilience, and to be a stimulus for thinking about mental health.

Stamp out stigma

Right Here Sheffield developed a range of anti-stigma and awareness-raising projects, including the production of the anti-stigma board game 'Dare You Share?' – based entirely on research conducted by the STAMP group. 'Dare you Share?' was promoted to schools and colleges in Sheffield as a tool to encourage discussion about mental health. STAMP designed a workshop to be used alongside the game. The STAMP group also carried out peer research into mental health stigma and developed a series of recommendations for decision makers.

Influencing

Like the other projects, Right Here Sheffield devoted considerable time to trying to influence and shape mental health service provision within the city, with its young people acting as advocates for new kinds of services and approaches, based on what they had learnt through Right Here.

Two pieces of work stand out: STAMP’s work with CAMHS workers to evaluate their ‘You’re Welcome’ standards; and STAMP’s research into young people’s experience of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service in the city. Findings from the latter were turned into a piece of forum theatre, which was then performed and discussed with a mixed audience of young people and invitees from both CAMHS and IAPT.

What’s happening now?

Both Interchange and Chilypep continue to offer services originally piloted within Right Here, and are building on the Right Here experience in everything they do. Interchange offers a range of activities that promote positive mental health and therapeutic group interventions, such as ‘Cage the Rage’ and ‘Walk and Talk’, developed by Right Here. It continues to host the Y-Act, a young people’s user involvement group. The STAMP group continues at Chilypep and some of its members have been involved in the Foyer Federation ‘Healthy Conversations’ Programme, which the Mental Health Foundation is contributing to. This piece of work, which builds on Right Here, focuses on supporting 16–25 year olds who feel passionate about helping other young adults discuss and look after their mental health to find fun and engaging ways to do this! The young people from STAMP have been trained in facilitation skills, mental health awareness, and mental health session delivery, and use these skills to run group conversations with young people in foyers across the country.

Read more about Right Here and making youth work led mental health for young people a reality.