Meet the team: Healthy Lives
Thomas John Rose
University of Birmingham, Institute of Applied Health Research
- England - West Midlands
Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS FT
- England - Wessex
- Jo Robins, Consultant in Public Health, Shropshire Council
- Val Cross, Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator
- Anne Marie Speke, Children's Public Health Lead
- Community Enablement Team
- Local GP with interest in Young People's Health - TBC
We have set up a social prescribing programme for adults, operating out of GP practices and local community centres in the north of the county. Recent referral data shows an increasing number of young adults being referred by the local Job Centre, for 18-24 year olds with issues around isolation and mental health. We want to extend this approach to focus on young adults especially those in rural and isolated parts of the county where ongoing support is lacking.
The rural nature of the county means that populations are dispersed and young people struggle to maintain friendship groups in their community. During the school years 60% of school aged children in Shropshire are ‘transported’ into school and college. This makes it more difficult once they reach later teenage years to forge close relationships with peers in their own community. They may be part of the rural isolated farming communities, may have a history of low level mental health challenges or lacking in confidence. Working with local GPs and through our teams in the council and job centres will provide access to young people.
We also hear from recent national reports that young people aged 16-24 are lonely. This is a crucial time in their development especially in preparation for adulthood. If certain protective factors are lacking this can result in poorer mental health and wellbeing.
One of our main goals would be to ensure they develop a set of protective factors including a strong sense of self and belonging, and developing resilience. Our aim is to ensure they maintain and build on peer support, develop a skill base to access job opportunities, participate in leisure and social activities and have at least 3 supportive relationships around them.
We would target one or two rural locations to identify young adults via one or more, of the following routes:
- Job Centre
- local business enterprise centre
- local GP practice in a rural community
- services working with families at risk
- a rural secondary school
The project would recruit and identify a cohort of young people and:
- Provide them with a coaching support role Access to social and leisure activities
- Development of personal skills and aspirations
- Development of relationship to a key individual and the wider community
In addition a small grant scheme would be provided to initiate ‘friendship peer support groups with other young adults either in the same locality or further afield, to initiate a start up business, or support them to develop a creative skill or passion linked to music, art or sport/leisure.
An assessment of their levels of loneliness would be made at the start supplemented by a questionnaire on resilience.
They would be active leaders in the programme, developing skills and confidence through coaching and training to take on a peer support role, thus further developing their own resilience but also acting as peer supporters for others.
- Improved health and wellbeing especially in relation to a reduction in loneliness and wellbeing
- Identification and development of protective factors amongst young people
- Self efficacy through peer support
- Development of new skills and access to wider leisure and social activities
- Identification of the positive contribution young people make in a community
- Increase in skills and access to employment
Benefits for the Q Community:
- New learning about the importance of tailoring services and reaching young people in a rural area and the benefits of working with primary care and wider organisations
- New learning on what factors affect and impact on isolation in young people
- New learning about the protective factors for young adults
- New model of social prescribing for young people is tested out.
How you can contribute
- Your support for this project idea
- Details of your experience in this area.