Pioneering project to improve mental health and wellbeing support launches in York

Published: 7/02/2020

The ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing: Northern Quarter Project’ takes inspiration from Italian city with world-leading approach to wellbeing.

2 people sitting facing each other in a counselling session

York St John University Mental Health Clinic is one of the key community assets involved in the project

The project launches at the York Mental Health Partnership on Friday 7 February at a conference hosted at York St John University. It will include a programme of work focused on eight council wards in the northern part of the city. It aims to improve support with mental health and wellbeing to all, including those who are living with mental ill health.

It also reflects the more community-based approach influenced by the Italian city of Trieste, recognised by the World Health Organisation as a world leader in its approach to mental health and wellbeing. Learning from Trieste shows that connecting people with the wealth of good help and opportunities, activities and events that already exist in the city can help maintain or improve their mental health and wellbeing.

The programme is starting in the north of York because of an existing wealth of community assets running from Haxby, south through New Earswick, and into the city centre. These include the Folk Hall, the new Foss Park Hospital, 30 Clarence Street, York St John University Mental Health Clinic and York Explore. The area is well served too by a number of community connector roles such as Local Area Coordinators and Ways to Wellbeing Workers.

Friday’s event will bring together over 100 people who live and/or work in the Northern Quarter of the city to share their knowledge of what exists in their communities to support people’s mental health and wellbeing, and to help make new connections between people, organisations and groups.

Cllr Carol Runciman, executive member for health and wellbeing at City of York Council, said: “York has pioneered better mental health care for centuries and, in the spirit of co-production which is central to our partnership, we want everyone to help us develop this community approach.

“This latest innovation builds on international learning and good practice, as we develop with partners and residents new ways to support patients effectively, safely and without stigma.

“Working with local people and communities is recognised as being the best medicine, and this innovative project aims to be able to better connect people to each other and others in the area.”

Tim Madgwick, chair of the York Mental Health Partnership, said: “Evidence tells us, and people who use mental health services tell us, that people recover best when they feel valued, connected to, and supported by, their local community.

“Individuals and organisations with a passion for supporting mental health and wellbeing are encouraged to get involved in the discussions and we will do everything we can to ensure that we connect individuals and organisations.

“We want to build on some of the unique strengths and partnerships that already exist in York but develop a response around individual need that is recognised as providing an outstanding service.”

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