Mental health is everybody’s business
by Sinem Cakir, Director of Youth Participation at TIM
At The Integrate Movement, we know that the most excluded young people repeatedly feel that they don’t get the help they need when they actually need it and instead get referred from one worker to another; particularly if the thing that they need help with is their mental health.
Workers can be under pressure to achieve a number of things in limited appointment slots or interactions with people, so much so that they actually forget to ask a young person, ‘How are you?’
We are trying to make sure that every worker has the skills they need to be able to hold supportive conversations that begin to meet a young person’s psychological needs alongside their practical ones. In order to do that, we are designing and piloting labs for services and frontline practitioners working with excluded young people, to help them to take a mental health approach in their work.
We’re looking for those professionals or community leaders working routinely with young people: teachers; probation workers; youth workers; to be upskilled in more than basic mental health but in how to have enabling conversations around mental health or state of mind. This isn’t about labelling, diagnosis or formal therapy, it’s about building an understanding of mental health across the frontline workforce so that we can better understand what stops a young person from moving forward.
We’re targeting the frontline, because this is where the trusting relationships between professionals and young people already exist and can take away some of the stigma for help seeking among excluded young people. But we don’t stop there, we want to take the entire system on the journey to creating services and environments that actually work for the people that we’re all trying to help.