On the hunt for a superhero to Join TIM…

by Michael Harris, Start-up Director at TIM

Micheal Harris, Start-up Director at The Integrate Movement

This Friday’s deadline is approaching for a superhero to join our exciting new social venture that seeks to make mental health everybody’s business (job description here). While the clock is ticking for a new team member to join our merry band of social entrepreneurs, I wanted to answer the question I am asked every week without fail — why did I take a break from a stable job at a professional services firm to become the “Start-up Director” of a radical new social enterprise? It isn’t just the fairly cool-sounding name, I promise them. I took the leap because we have a seriously big problem and I want to do something about it.

According to recent figures, 13% of people aged 16–24 in the UK are classified as “NEETs” — not in education, employment or training. To bring that to life — almost one million young people woke up this morning facing a huge uphill battle. For many of these young people, money and employment prospects won’t be the end of their troubles. The most excluded young people in our society will be battling with multiple and incredibly complex needs — homelessness, substance abuse and domestic violence to name a few. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to appreciate the toll that these circumstances are having on young people’s mental health. Yet, clinical services in the UK are at capacity, and marginalised young people often fall through the gaps of referral into new services until the situation reaches crisis point.

It doesn’t need to be like this. There are hundreds of thousands of people doing amazing work in our frontline services — from youth workers to prison officers, from school teachers to park rangers. These workers are in the position to have an enabling, therapeutic conversation with a young person but are either under-equipped, not afforded the space, time or permission to do so or simply do not have the confidence to take a mental health approach in their work. If all frontline workers were able to help young people with their low level mental health needs we would alleviate a huge amount of pressure on the entire system.

This is the problem and the challenge that gets me out of bed in the morning and it is the reason why I work for The Integrate Movement, or TIM for short. TIM is a bold new social enterprise, supported by Lankelly Chase Foundation and The Foundation, that seeks to make mental health everybody’s business. We will do this by designing and delivering experiential training that will change the way that services think about excluded young people’s mental health, so that young people get the help they need wherever and whenever they need it. Why ‘Integrate’? Integrate is a way of working developed by our award-winning sister charity MAC-UK and partners, that takes a holistic approach to excluded young people, by considering them as whole beings with psychological needs, as well as practical.

Our new Product Development Manager will lead on the development of our “experiential training” -Labs. This person will not only need to be a diligent and experienced programme manager, but also to live and breathe the principles of youth participation, be willing to work in a fast-paced and hard-working start-up environment, and be passionate about changing the lives of excluded young people.

They will be joining a great team, based in the Impact Hub’s buzzing office space in Islington and share our vision that mental health is everybody’s business — from frontline worker to CEO.

I, for one, can’t wait to meet them!

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