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Peer Power Launch Just Health Film and Report - Peer Power
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Peer Power Launch Just Health Film and Report

“An Enquiry into the Emotional Health and Wellbeing of Young People in the Youth Justice System”

Young people sharing their experiences of being in contact with the youth justice system in London have contributed to a new report published today which sets out a number of recommendations that aim to improve the emotional support and wellbeing that young people receive in the youth justice system.

The new report, ‘Just Health’ – An Enquiry into the Emotional Health and Wellbeing of Young People in the Youth Justice System, (access below) was published today by Peer Power, a social justice charity who work to support vulnerable children and young people and work together with other services to transform services for young people.

The charity was commissioned by NHS England (London) to facilitate consultation and engagement with children and young people to see how London’s NHS could improve the way that they work with young people who find themselves in the system.

As part of the consultation, a film was produced about emotional health and well-being that explored the views and experiences of young people with lived experience of youth justice and health agencies. Below, you can see the film.

Just Health Report CoverIn addition, a stakeholder event was held on November 9th 2016, where over 100 delegates, including young people and decision makers, came together to hear testimonials from young people and to co-create a vision for future health and wellbeing services.

You can read the report ‘Just Health’ – “An Enquiry into the Emotional Health and Wellbeing of Young People in the Youth Justice System” by clicking on the image to the right.

The report found that liaison and diversion services for young people could be improved – it wasn’t clear from those in contact with the system whether they received the proper screening and assessment process, with 71% of participants saying that they either did not have or did not remember if anyone had come to them to talk about needing or wanting support.

Lord McNally, Chair of the Youth Justice Board, said:

“This report demonstrates again why it is important to seek the views of those whose needs the youth justice system was established to meet – namely children who offend. 

We already know that access to mental healthcare and emotional wellbeing services is poor for children in the youth justice system, and the findings of this report go some way to illustrating how this could be improved.

As work is underway to reform youth justice, along the education, health and welfare principles Charlie Taylor’s review espoused, so I hope the children’s views expressed in this report are taken into account as part of that process”

Anne-Marie Douglas, CEO of Peer Power said:

“We were delighted to partner with NHS England (London) to gain the views of young people about emotional support and wellbeing services offered while they are in contact with the youth justice system. The report’s findings demonstrate the need to listen and act upon the views of children and young people to ensure that services meet their needs effectively and efficiently.”

One of the young people who took part in the research said:

If they act on even half of what we have talked about… and do something about it and action it, I think we’ve made a difference.”   

Sinead Dervin, Senior Health & Justice Commissioner for NHS England (London) said:

“It has been incredibly valuable to hear directly from young people about their personal experiences – we wanted to understand what had helped young people on their journey and crucially, what could have helped them at an earlier stage.

“We want to ensure that the experiences and voices of young people inform the future design and delivery of health and wellbeing services that we commission –we look forward to reviewing the findings and sharing the recommendations with our partners so that we can work towards better health and emotional wellbeing for our young people who find themselves in contact with justice system.”

Recommendations from the report were:

  • The L&D service for young people needs to be redesigned with young people at heart of its development to ensure it is effective for the group it is created for. A ‘one size fits all’ approach is not suitable.
  • Explore the evidence base for emotional intelligence training for young people in the criminal justice system, to support early intervention and identification of emotional health and well-being needs.
  • Young people who are in the criminal justice system should be more involved in the decision-making process about the individual services they are being offered, similar to Shared Decision Making (SDM) used in other adolescent mental health services and this should be embedded in practice.
  • Consider the use of peer mentors/workers with similar life experiences to help engage young people and provide them with additional support outside of the formal assessment process in custody settings. Utilise peer led and peer trainer approaches to support engagement.
  • Health workers, police or ‘support workers’ engaging with young people should be given empathy training to improve engagement and increase the likeliness of a trusted relationship forming with young people who come into police custody.
  • Health commissioners should explore less traditional places to offer young people services to support their health and well- being, and these should be facilitated, ‘brokered’ or even delivered by the people they have an on-going and trusted relationship with and whom they trust, for example youth workers, YOT workers, peer mentors, and at hostels, or the places where young people are.
  • Health commissioners should consider longer funding cycles and the impact of service re-organisation, to support on-going and trusted relationships to be developed with young people without fear of services, and therefore relationships, coming to an end.
  • Health commissioners should consider longer funding cycles and the impact of service re-organisation, to support on-going and trusted relationships to be developed with young people without fear of services, and therefore relationships, coming to an end.
  • A joint research project by NHS England, London Region andthe Metropolitan Police on the experiences of young people in custody in order to further understand whether there is a relationship between experiences with the police and emotional wellbeing.

Peer Power are proud to work in partnership with ClearView Research who supported the project with youth and experience led analysis of the data and recommendations, and Stretch Charity who supported the making of the film.

 

1Comment
  • Children’s emotional health and wellbeing – Comment
    Posted at 10:15h, 28 March

    […] that they work with young people who find themselves in the system. As part of the consultation, a film was produced with Stretch Charity about emotional health and wellbeing that explored the views and […]