Mental health is a real concern amongst young people and this has been compounded by the consequences of Covid and its impact on mental health and wellbeing.
I spoke in depth with students and heads during the autumn term and in those discussions students were actively calling for a hub, away from school, where they could receive advice and support and if necessary, a pathway into longer term support.
Since these meetings I have been in discussions with the local councils, the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the CCG and plans are being actively developed for a mental health hub for young people in Horsham.
The hub in Horsham will draw on the experience of an existing scheme in East Sussex called i-Rock; a one stop shop youth hub for young people aged 14-25. Young people are able to drop-in without a referral, an appointment or meeting any threshold criteria and are seen immediately by a member of staff. I visited one of the i-Rock sites last month to see how the hub works in practice.
The East Sussex i-Rock is an innovative solution which has been highly praised for its work.
More information about I-Rock can be found here: https://www.irocksussex.com/ (please note this service is currently only available to those living in East Sussex).
A hub in Horsham will provide young people with a central focus and a safe space, differentiated from school and home life, to discuss their concerns and where necessary to secure longer-term support.
I am delighted that hub in Horsham is being developed and you can follow this page for regular updates.