Youth mental health project shortlisted for award

Cllr Sue Beaney with members of Hastings Youth Council at the i-Rock launch in July 2016. SUS-171206-104334001
Cllr Sue Beaney with members of Hastings Youth Council at the i-Rock launch in July 2016. SUS-171206-104334001

A mental health project which supports young people in Hastings and Rother has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

i-Rock, a one-stop shop for young people aged 14-25, is a finalist in the Redesign of Care in Mental Health category at the Healthcare Transformation Awards. The awards celebrate hard work and innovation in local healthcare and are supported by NHS England.

Since opening its doors in June 2016 the drop-in service, which offers support around mental health issues, wellbeing, education, employment and housing, has helped more than 300 young people.

Based in Cambridge Road, Hastings, i-Rock is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am-6pm. No appointment is needed and representatives from a range of organisations are on hand to provide information and help young people access services.

It is jointly run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and East Sussex County Council, and commissioned by NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as part of Healthy Hastings and Rother, a scheme set up to tackle health inequalities in the area as part of the wider East Sussex Better Together (ESBT) programme.

Viki Ashby, Sussex Partnership’s youth services project manager responsible for setting up the service, said: “i-Rock is going from strength to strength and the feedback we’re getting from the young people who visit us is overwhelmingly positive.

“Nearly half of the people who come to i-Rock are not in education, employment or training, and the issues most regularly discussed are anxiety and stress, low mood and employment worries. These are common concerns for young people but often they don’t know where to go for help, and if left unsupported they could develop into more complex problems.

“We offer a safe, trusted place for young people to talk about their worries and I’m so proud that we’re making a real difference to the lives of young people.”

Dr Susan Rae, GP at Silver Springs Surgery and Hastings and Rother CCG’s clinical lead for health inequalities, said: “Helping young people to access services and support that will benefit their mental health is extremely important, especially those who come from our most deprived local communities.

“The i-Rock Project is already producing some encouraging results: namely that young people using i-Rock belong to a ‘hard to reach’ population, and that high numbers of young people using i-Rock have said that they would not have accessed other services without it.

“i-Rock’s success so far is a testament to the fact that it has been designed not just by health and care professionals, but in close partnership with the voluntary and community sector, and local young people themselves. It is fast establishing itself as a valuable resource that young people trust to help them, and I am proud to support it through the Healthy Hastings and Rother programme.”

The award winners will be announced on Wednesday, June 28 at a ceremony at the Crown Plaza London Docklands.

For further information and updates follow i-Rock on Twitter @HastingsiRock or visit www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/irock.

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