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Evaluating a young people's enhanced mental health service at Centre 33

5 July 2022
Juliet Snell and Zoë McHayle

Mental health problems are particularly prevalent in the teenage and young adult years. But young people are less likely to access support for their mental health than other age groups, and those facing multiple barriers may be labelled ‘hard to reach’. In reality, too often services don’t reach out or are not flexible enough to meet young people’s needs.

This report is an evaluation of Centre 33’s Someone To Talk To Initiative, which set out to better meet the needs of young people facing multiple barriers, challenges or inequalities. They offered more flexible and longer-term support to young people without bureaucratic barriers on eligibility.

Someone to talk to finds that the project was able to engage young people with a more significant and complex range of needs who faced greater health inequalities, and that young people who engaged with Centre 33’s project benefited from greater and significant improvements to their mental health.

Crucially, it dismantles the myth that young people facing multiple barriers are ‘hard to reach’; instead, they simply require a more holistic and flexible approach from mental health services.

We're calling on mental health services to:

  • Offer young people the help they need without requiring them to meet restrictive eligibility criteria
  • Offer young people more choice and autonomy about the support they get and how they want to access it
  • Recognise that complexity of need does not make a young person 'hard to reach’; rather that the right offer, which includes high levels of autonomy and choice for the young person, results in good engagement and outcomes.
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