New funds to improve mental health of homeless young people in North East

July 24, 2019

A major new partnership between Depaul UK and the CareTech Foundation will provide more than £23,000 to transform the lives of homless young people in the North East. The organisations will work together to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people living in Depaul’s supported accommodation across the region.

Part of the new grant will fund a specialist mental health worker who will be focused on helping young people grow their personal confidence and ability to cope. Through a number of workshops and activities, the programme will build resilience and offer techniques for maintaining positive wellbeing and mental health.

Depaul UK supports young people aged 16-25 who find themselves homeless by providing emergency accommodation, supported housing and other services which help young people rebuild their lives. Young people who experience homelessness often struggle with a variety of different pressures, with poor mental health often being a major factor. With time and support Depaul UK looks to improve young people’s mental health, and work with them to move onto independent living, finding work or continuing their education.

Deborah Legg, a Depaul mental health worker in the North East, said:

“Every day I see the close link between poor mental health and homelessness. Unless we can help young people to build resilience and develop their own coping mechanisms, we won’t be successful in tackling homelessness in the long term. This project is giving young people the skills and confidence to maintain their own wellbeing. It’s an important first step in a difficult process to helping them into independent living and giving them the tools to thrive in the future.”

Mike Thiedke, Depaul UK, Chief Executive said:

“We are hugely grateful to the CareTech Foundation for their generosity. This partnership will allow us to continue our important mental health work, which is helping us to make a lasting impact on the young people experiencing homelessness in the North East. By creating greater mental health resilience, we hope we can ensure that they don’t fall back into homelessness and are able to move forward in a positive way.”

Jonathan Freeman, Chief Executive of the CareTech Foundation said:

“No one should face sleeping on the streets, particularly the young. We have been really impressed by the work being done by Depaul and the young people we’ve spoken to, whose lives have been transformed by this project. Tackling poor mental health is one of our core objectives and this partnership is bringing about real change in the North East.”

Celani’s story:

Celani was hospitalised when she was 18 so she could be treated for schizophrenia.

Her mental health worker at the hospital discovered that her family environment was unsafe and was having a negative effect on her mental health. Depaul UK was called and one of their specialist support workers visited Celani in hospital.

At first Celani was very quiet and withdrawn, but gradually she started to trust her Depaul worker and began to speak, for the first time, about the abuse she had suffered.

When she was discharged from hospital, Celani moved into Depaul House, a local supported accommodation project which provides a safe place to stay and support for up to two years. At Depaul House, Celani started to make friends and really came out of her shell.

Celani gets involved in all social activities that are offered to her, including dance class, cooking and football, and regularly attends a local youth club.

She wants to become a social worker and, after taking part in an employability workshop, started a course in childcare.

Thanks to support from the hospital and Depaul UK, Celani’s life has turned around and she is on the path to a successful future.

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