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Early intervention project launched

An early intervention service for vulnerable young women, called Imagining Futures, is being launched by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The service employs theatre, creative writing, movement, and psychological skills such as dialectical behaviour therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness.

danceThe project has been designed to support disadvantaged girls and women aged 14 to 18 in Lambeth and Southwark, whose immediate and longer-term mental health may be affected by issues including social exclusion, exploitation, vulnerability, deprivation and gang association.

Imagining Futures is run by the adolescent at risk and forensic service, which is part of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at the Trust, and Ovalhouse, a theatre on the Kennington Oval. The project is funded through a grant from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

Dr Troy Tranah, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said:

It is acknowledged that less than a quarter of young people with mental health issues receive the help they need. The proposed service, called Imagining Futures, will help to address this gap and is unique in that it combines expert mental health provision and front-line arts participation.

Experts hope it will help young people with significant mental health risks to access specialist CAMHS support much earlier than relying solely on GP referrals. The service will also address barriers experienced by at-risk young people who sometimes view mental health services as stigmatised and are more likely to engage with an arts-led service in a community setting.

It is hoped that approximately 48 young people will engage in the workshops over the course of the project. Each of the workshops will be led by an arts facilitator and a CAMHS clinician.

The King’s Health Partners Child and Adolescent Mental Health Clinical Academic Group provides comprehensive care for children and young people (aged 0 -18) presenting with mental ill health.