These case studies provide four examples of the range of different approaches incorporated within the Right Here Programme. They represent but a small proportion of the entire Right Here body of work, but are worth singling out to demonstrate some of the innovative practice which has been undertaken under the Right Here banner to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 16-25.
In particular the case studies highlight good practice developed across the areas of mental health awareness-raising, therapeutic support, youth participation and physical and creative activities. Each of the four projects aligns themselves with the evidence of what is known to be effective in supporting the mental health of young people: whether this is increasing access to support (Walk and Talk, Research and Evaluation Group), raising awareness about mental health issues in young people (Body and Mind, Suitcase Theatre, Research and Evaluation Group), or providing support that works (Walk and Talk).
All of the case study projects have arisen from the contexts in which they are situated and have developed in response to specific local needs, such as particular service barriers (Research & Evaluation Group) or local high risk populations (Walk and Talk). Crucially, however, they have also built on local opportunities and resources available to make the most of what currently exists in each area, including particular staff skills (Body and Mind) and effective partnerships between local agencies (Suitcase Theatre).
In this respect all the case studies selected have in common a certain nimbleness – a flexibility to respond to local needs and opportunities and adapt as appropriate. This adaptability was very evident in Walk and Talk and Body and Mind, where the project staff were able to respond to the complex needs of young people who came along, but also in the Research and Evaluation group and Suitcase Theatre productions where the initial activities were used as a starting point to jump off into a host of other approaches that worked to further the aims and learning from the project.
The case studies were each small in scale. There is, however, considerable transferable learning still to be gained from Right Here’s approaches to supporting the mental health of young adults; particularly in terms of the approaches used to engage with young people, address service barriers and support their mental health needs. Central to all of the case studies is the overarching principle of placing young people at the centre of the work and using their experiences and needs to shape the direction of each activity, and the benefits of doing so.
Further examples of Right Here best practice and the full evaluation of the work will be published in 2014.
Find out more about the Right Here programme and how it is supporting young people’s mental health on our website.
You can also find out more about the Innovation Labs project by visiting the website.