Regional Project Officer Update – May 2018

It’s been a while since my last blog and I had hoped to have this out earlier in May – however, it’s been a busy time at YHNE so it’s better late than never!

I ususally use this blog as an opportunity to tell you EVERYTHING that we’ve been doing but I thought I’d have a bit of a change this month and just concentrate on the mental health work that we’re looking to start – especially given that it was mental health awareness week last week (although that’s TOTALLY ruined the first sentence of my blog…pretend you didn’t see it!).

I hope you enjoy it…

Mental Health Awareness Week

Last week was Mental Health Awareness week (promise, you haven’t already read that…) – there was loads of stuff being shared on social media, on TV and radio about encouraging people to talk about their Mental Health, with a particular focus on stress. If you haven’t seen it already, we shared loads of stuff on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so please check it out!

Mental Health is something that we’re going to be concentrating a lot on here at YHNE over the next few months. We have recently been lucky enough to be given some funding to carry out a participatory research project into young homeless people’s mental health needs – based on some feedback from young people during the NPS Project (more of which, a bit later on!), the project will be called ‘Why do I feel like this?’ – this was a quote from one of our young people and we really feel it encapsulates just how some young people feel, particularly those who are, or are at risk of, homelessness.

Our 2017 annual survey found that Mental Health support needs were far and above the number one support need for young people in the North East – have a look at our survey to find out more. The survey has been going for around five or six years now and it’s the first year that Independent Living Skills haven’t been the biggest support need…this shows that something needs to be done and, hopefully, our work will highlight what our young people need!

We’re aiming to get young people involved and the ultimate aim is to produce an awareness raising session to deliver across the North East – in some early sessions that we’ve already done, our young people have been telling us about the additional pressures that being homeless can have on their mental health. This has varied from not knowing where they’re going to be sleeping on a night time to having ‘friends’ using their new flats as places to get drunk or take drugs…all this can have a negative impact on a young person’s mental health.

Also, I feel there needs to be done in terms of offering support and letting young people know that ‘It’s OK not to be OK’. From personal experience, I know how difficult it is to realise that something isn’t right, let alone have to face it and then talk to someone…we need to look at what mechanisms are needed to encourage young people to talk and ensure that there is the support and guidance there when they need it and that it is suitable for their needs.

This project will be a chance for young people to get involved and, hopefully, make a real difference…if you’re aged between 14-25, and have been or are at risk of homelessness (or know someone who has been) then we’d love to hear from you to get involved.

NPS Project…we’re nearly there!

I know that I said I would just be concentrating on mental health this month, but it wouldn’t be my blog without a mention of the NPS Project. Plus, it’s my blog…so I can do want I want, ok?!

Since starting at YHNE in September, my main focus (amongst many other things) has been the NPS Project, which looks at the impact of so called former ‘Legal Highs’ on homeless young people.

After some fantastic work with young people over the last 6 months, we’re now in a position to start rolling out our awareness raising sessions across the North East. They have been shaped and developed with a lot of input from young people and, hopefully, will be a useful session for young people and professionals alike. It also includes a Who Wants to be a Millionaire style quiz too, so why WOULDN’T people want to come along?!?! (N.B There won’t be cash given as prizes but there will be sweets!)

If you’d be interested in attending a session, or would like to host one, get in touch with either me or Victoria Clark and we’ll be happy to have a chat with you! More details are available here.

Until next month, all the best and thanks for reading!

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