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Successful Bid To Improve Mental Health In North Yorkshire

Successful Bid To Improve Mental Health In North Yorkshire

Published by Karen Liu at 1:51pm 3rd February 2020.

A bid to improve mental health in North Yorkshire's communities has been given the go-ahead.

The drive to tackle the growing problem of mental ill-health in the region and to reduce the number of suicides is moving forward with funding for projects that aim to reduce loneliness and social and emotional isolation. 

The grant programme is the result of a funding bid by North Yorkshire County Council and local NHS organisations to NHS England.  The purpose is to support projects which strengthen the mental health of groups and communities. 

North Yorkshire County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, Executive Member for Public Health, said:

“At some point in their lives, one in four people will experience mental health issues. In North Yorkshire, that’s around 150,000 people – more than the populations of Harrogate and Scarborough combined.

The aim is to support a national initiative to reduce suicide rates in England by 10 per cent in the coming year.

The projects which are being funded will build on the important work already under way in North Yorkshire to help prevent suicides and to improve the access to, and quality of, mental health services in general.

This programme plays an important part to further the work of North Yorkshire mental health strategy, Hope, Control and Choice, and the mental health Crisis Care Concordat that we are carrying out with our partners.”

Projects celebrating successful funding bids are: 

  • Whitby Area Sheds: Whitby Area Sheds will be supporting rural communities to come together and to care for themselves. The project focuses on young people and empowers them to define everyday life as it is for them now; agree a vision for what they would like to have available to them; and explore the possibilities for doing things to meet that vision. 
  • Eskdale School: This project will promote whole-school awareness of suicide and self-harm prevention, as well as delivering targeted sessions for students with documented mental health issues.  Their parents or carers will also be able to talk about their worries and difficulties separately, with advice and guidance offered by existing mental health ambassadors and selected peer mentors in the school. Students and parents will be able to come to a final session to bring together information and advice and take part in open discussion. The school will be working in partnership with Whitby Lighthouse. 

Projects that received grants in previous funding rounds include Scarborough, Whitby, and Ryedale Mind.

The charity has been working with local GP surgeries to provide a mental health support service.  

Sophie, the Project Lead, has been surprised at the significant levels of severe mental ill health experienced by patients coming to the service:

“We have found that environmental and social issues like poor housing and abusive relationships often lead to people experiencing significant mental health issues and, or, chronic ill health and disability.

Our client Jayne approached the service when she moved to the area after being made redundant.

Her rented house had damp and mould and this was beginning to affect her physical health, and she was having problems with her neighbours’ anti-social behaviour.

She had lost contact with her children, was struggling to make friends in the area, and had become involved in a relationship that was increasingly violent and controlling.

Her isolation was impacting on her mental health and causing a re-occurrence of a previously managed eating disorder.

She wanted to meet new people, but after initial discussions it was clear that there weren’t any social groups that appealed to her, and she wasn’t keen on group based activities.

We were able to help her to join up with a campaigning network which allowed her to connect with people of similar interests locally, and she has now begun developing friendships. 

Jayne didn’t qualify for help through the eating disorder service, so we researched together and found an alternative health clinic nearby that could provide support on meal planning, and through ongoing conversations she identified that it was her anxiety causing most impact, so we gave her a session on coping strategies and distraction techniques.

We liaised with Jayne’s landlord and set up a meeting which we went to with her as an advocate to address the issues relating to the poor state of her housing, alongside helping her develop coping skills to deal with her neighbour’s anti-social behaviour.

We supported her to apply for part time work whilst working towards setting up her own business, and she has now secured regular employment as well as taking up voluntary work for people with disabilities.

We use the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing scale (WEMWBS) to monitor our clients’ progress.

Jayne’s initial WEMWBS score was 28 at the first appointment and 48 at the end, moving her away from the group considered at high risk of depression and psychological distress”.


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