Leicester City in the Community working with CAMHS to support young people | Latest updates

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Leicester City in the Community working with CAMHS to support young people

The CAMHS Young People’s team at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) is working with Leicester City Football Club’s Community Organisation (CCO) to help teenagers who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, mental health issues.

Leicester City in the Community (LiTC) has a well-established community outreach and engagement programme of activities, supporting vulnerable, disadvantaged or ‘at risk’ groups through their football clubs and activities.

LiTC has come together in partnership with the CAMHS team to deliver the Advantage programme - a mentoring programme for young people aged 11-21 years with mild to moderate mental health and wellbeing difficulties.

How it works

Young people involved in LiTC programmes can access mentors who work at the CCO in order to support their mental health and wellbeing. The mentors are trained and supervised by LPT’s CAMHS professionals.

The Advantage programme has worked well elsewhere in the country, and although this is the first time it has been done at a football club in the East Midlands, Advantage Mentoring are keen to expand the programme across the region.

Dr Jeanette Bowlay-Williams, Clinical Director for CAMHS at LPT, said: “We are really excited to be working with Leicester City in the Community, who are trying to do something different to engage with young people who may find it difficult to access mainstream services. We hope that, by using football as a hook, we can intervene early and alter the trajectories of some of these young people.

“Health and inequalities data shows that there are some young people who face barriers in accessing services and tend not to access support from mainstream services around mental health issues. This could be, for example, due to stigma, societal expectations about how acceptable it is to need support, or cultural beliefs about mental health.

Engaging in mental health support

“There are those who may need support but don’t access the mental health services, for example, some of our data suggests that young males are less likely to access support early and may only come to the attention of services when they are in a crisis. We hope projects like this help them to engage in mental health support earlier.

“Our staff will supervise and train the mentors on lower-level interventions. For some young people this may mean they don’t need specialist services, for others it may be helping them to engage with CAMHS if they need it.

“It’s about taking a broader view of mental health and well-being and moving away from traditional models of service delivery; offering services in a way that feels more relevant and acceptable to young people, to reduce stigma.”

David Williams, Group Director of Strategy & Partnerships at LPT, added: “The project is still in its early stages, but is already having a good impact and it would be great if we can roll it out across other areas of the East Midlands Alliance to bring similar benefits across the region.”

Developing a template

Konrad Deckers Dowber, Managing Director of Advantage Mentoring CIC, believes that the model can be replicated in other parts of the country.

He said: “What Leicester City in the Community and Leicestershire Partnership Trust and their CAMHS team have been able to achieve this past year is nothing short of amazing. It’s a good-practice template I use when looking to grow the programme in new areas around the country.

“Joining up these two anchor institutions to provide a quality assured Advantage programme for young people locally needing mental health support was the aim and they have smashed it, to a point where we have achieved so many success stories not only for the young people who are supported on the programme, but also the feedback for the CAMHS team and the mentors who have delivered on this over the past year.

“With other football clubs Aston Villa, WBA and Wolves also already delivering an Advantage programme, I’m excited to see where else we can deliver the model and have a positive impact and share practice over a whole NHS region.”

You can find out more about the Advantage programme at advantagementoring.co.uk.

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