Starting from the experience of trauma

14 June 2019

The Mayor's £45 million Young Londoners Fund is supporting young people from across London to engage in positive and meaningful activities.

Mental health and wellbeing support is a key part of the Young Londoners Fund, with organisations like New Horizon Youth Centre embedding this into their delivery.

Many of the organisations being supported focus on young Londoner’s mental health and wellbeing, including New Horizon Youth Centre who write about their work below.

Supporting young people affected by trauma at New Horizon Youth Centre

Too many of the young people affected by serious youth violence have been a victim before becoming perpetrators, experiencing unsafe housing, poverty and a childhood of trauma. Our Youth Outreach Project, supported by the Young Londoners Fund, helps young people in addressing the impact of early and ongoing trauma by prioritising their mental and emotional health needs alongside housing, safety and employability.

Through our day centre and outreach services, New Horizon Youth Centre offers a ‘one stop shop’ seven days per week, working with young people aged 16-24 to improve their health, economic circumstances and find somewhere that they can call home. As part of our work, in the last seven years our Youth Outreach Project has supported over 2,000 young people affected by serious youth violence.

Integrated mental health provision

We know that the young people we support struggle with poor mental health, often as a response to their life experiences. Most have suffered complex and multiple trauma in their still young lives, with many having been the victim or witness of violence and abuse from early childhood onwards. As a result, the young people we see tend to have post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and/or depression. 

We start our work with those affected by serious youth violence by understanding the young person’s experience of trauma, and their difficulties in trusting and relating to other people. We focus on the unmet mental health needs and tackle the lack of relevant provision in the criminal justice system and community. The project offers a range of activities to build a young person’s self-esteem and their communication and relationship skills, such as a music studio, workshops, skills development and training programmes.

Maintaining important and meaningful relationships is key, so uniquely we work with parents, siblings and other key people in each young person’s life. Facilitated by psychotherapists with expertise in this area, we run a group where these very important people can get help and information, and through which they can meet others in a similar position to develop supportive relationships. As such they can start to feel more resourced, which in turn also benefits the young person.  

Partnerships

New Horizon cannot and does not do this work alone. We are committed to delivery and sharing best practice in close partnership with a wide number of statutory and non-statutory agencies across London. We have strong relationships with local authorities, probation services, London prisons, Integrated Gang Teams and voluntary sector providers, working also on joint cases and making mutual referrals. 

One such key partner is Third Eye Psychology, who are enhancing the support we can offer in custody settings and the community. As such the young people can access therapeutic support, more easily, from a clinical psychologist and psychotherapeutic practitioners who are part of the team, in addition to our counselling services at the centre. This gives consistency to young people in being able to get specialist help to address their trauma, get a better understanding of ways of dealing with emotions, and to start to feel more positive about their future.

More information

If you would like to support the project or would like more information please contact the Youth Outreach Project Manager: [email protected]