Commissioning us - Young People
The need for early intervention
Before I was all over the place. I had a lot of anxiety problems and stress… the [residential] helped me combat these problems… build my confidence and communication skills…
Alice, 19-25 programme participant
In England 7,500 young people develop an emerging psychosis each year, and 75% of mental health problems emerge before the age of 25. Research has identified the mid-teen years as the time when the onset of psychotic and other serious mental health disorders peaks.
Furthermore, a long ‘Duration of Untreated Psychosis’ (DUP) often leads to a poorer long-term prognosis. It is clear that we need to treat more people at an early stage of their illness in order to avoid the human and financial cost of hospitalisation. The task is finding cost-effective models which reap results.
How we can help
Helps you get your life back – it’s AMAZING. Confidence and support and people who really understand how you feel. You find that you are not alone in how you feel.
James, 14-18 programme participant
Since 2007, we have established a series of recovery learning initiatives called Uthink for young people aged 14-25 who are experiencing, or caring for someone with, a mental illness. Our programmes enable young people to improve their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, helps them feel a sense of real achievement and begin making informed choices and plans for the future involving lifestyle, work and educational goals.
We have developed bespoke programmes for young carers, teenage parents and young people from BME communities. We are now tailoring our expertise in mental health services and support for young people for use in the criminal justice system. We have developed a ‘multi-level approach’ programme of work that not only targets young people directly, but supports prison staff, including specifically prison nurses. This approach also provides accessible information resources for professionals, young people and families. Young people can also acquire valuable skills, including the chance to gain a recognised Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network qualification.
What we do
I loved the group, I loved the activities and the energy and enthusiasm of the workers and the people I met.
Dean, Uthink participant
The Uthink programme delivers a number of interventions:
- Recovery learning programmes for 19-25 year olds who have experienced first episode psychosis: regular group sessions facilitated by an experienced team for a given time period.
- Residential programmes for 19-25 year olds who have experienced first episode psychosis: an intensive activities agenda that introduces young people to new ideas, new experiences and the opportunity to build greater self esteem and peer support. The only programme of its kind in the country.
- Modular Emotional Wellbeing programmes for 14-18 year olds who have experience, or are at risk of developing, mental health difficulties: raising awareness and prevention of mental illness as well as offering an early intervention for young people demonstrating signs of mental illness.
- Engagement with schools and colleges by developing and delivering information packs for schools and programmes in educational venues: raising awareness of mental health amongst pupils, teachers and people working within each setting, changing attitudes, tackling stigma and improving access to advice, information and support.
- Online information and support for young people who have an experience of living with mental illness carers, siblings and friends: offer advice, information and support and encourage peer to peer support. The information and self-help sheets comprise a guide to good mental health as well as techniques for managing the effects of mental illness, developing support structures and signposting help.
- Leadership training events: fun interactive days providing skills for public speaking, planning and organising activities and taking part in local forums etc.
Independent analysis by the University of Central Lancashire shows strong positive outcomes in areas of managing mental health, self care, daily living skills, development of social networks and relationships, reduced addictive behaviour, improved self-esteem and stronger feelings of trust and hope. Our interim outcomes data set indicates that after participation in Uthink young people demonstrated substantial gains in all dimensions represented in the Recovery Star and with the exception of drugs and alcohol, these improvements were statistically significant.
On completing a Uthink programme, a number of young people have resumed attendance at school or college and/or have begun to look for further training and education opportunities.
 Mental Health Network (2011) NHS Confederation 2011 Briefing: Early intervention in psychosis services
 Singh, S et al (2008) Transitions of Care from Child to Adolescent Mental Health Services to Adult Mental Health Services (TRACK Study) BMC Health Services Research no 8:135.
 Killackey, E. and Yung, A. (2007) Effectiveness of early intervention in psychosis. Current Opinion in Psychiatry: 20, 121-125.
 The Recovery Star measures ten life dimensions which have been found to be important to the recovery of people with mental health problems.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays