Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Early intervention project will support vulnerable teenagers

Called Imagining Futures, the project is an early intervention service for women, employing theatre, creative writing and movement and psychological skills such as dialectical behaviour therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness.


The project has been designed to support disadvantaged girls and women aged 14 to 18 in Lambeth and Southwark, whose immediate and longer-term mental health may be affected by issues including social exclusion, exploitation, vulnerability, deprivation and gang association.


Dr Troy Tranah, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is acknowledged that less than a quarter of young people with mental health issues receive the help they need. The proposed service, called Imagining Futures, will help to address this gap and is unique in that it combines expert mental health provision and front-line arts participation.


“The project will use drama and related art forms - such as creative writing, drama and dance, interwoven with psychological skills taken from dialectical behaviour therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness. It is hoped this combination with both engage and help young people in Lambeth and Southwark experiencing vulnerability and mental health difficulties.” 


Imagining Futures is run by the adolescent at risk and forensic service, which is part of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), and Ovalhouse, a theatre on the Kennington Oval. The project is funded through a grant from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.


Experts hope it will help young people with significant mental health risks to access specialist CAMHS support much earlier than relying solely on GP referrals.


The service will also address barriers experienced by at-risk young people who sometimes view mental health services as stigmatised and are more likely to engage with an arts-led service in a community setting.


It is hoped that approximately 48 young people will engage in the workshops over the course of the project, which starts this month. Each of the workshops will be led by an arts facilitator and a CAMHS clinician. Every individual will have access to Ovalhouse’s pastoral care workers who will offer support and guidance and a CAMHS clinician who will provide mental health support.  Workshops will be held in venues where participants feel safe and at ease.


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