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Posted on 18, October 2016

Together project for young people in Rotherham wins Positive Practice in Mental Health award

Together’s Rotherham Pathways project has been announced a winner at the Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards, which recognise excellence in mental health and mental health services.

Project Manager Alison Thorne accepted the award for innovation in child and young people’s mental health at an awards ceremony gala dinner in Woking on Thursday 13 October. She was presented the award by a young person who had themselves received support for their mental health, and who commented on the importance of responsive and compassionate services for young people.

And there was more good news to come as our York Pathways service was highly commended in the mental health, the emergency services and the criminal justice system category. Together was the only Third Sector provider to be shortlisted in two categories.

Rotherham Pathways, which forms part of Barrow Cadbury’s  three-year national Transition to Adulthood Pathways programme, offers support to vulnerable young adults who are in contact with police and emergency services. Project staff work with individuals who are at risk of offending or are at a pre-conviction stage, to respond to their wellbeing needs at the earliest possible opportunity and reduce the chance of them entering the criminal justice system or reoffending.

The Pathways team does an holistic assessment of each individual and gives practical support to help people manage their mental wellbeing and get the help they need with issues like employment and training, housing, and substance misuse. We also support young adults to identify, understand and alter any behaviours that are perpetuating their mental distress. We then work with them to develop tools to help sustain these changes, for example, emotional awareness, assertiveness, negotiation and problem-solving skills. A key focus is on strengthening their informal support networks and relationships.

By working closely with young people and the South Yorkshire Police, Rotherham Pathways has successfully managed to reduce the number of young people coming into contact with the police by 44%.

Linda Bryant, director of Criminal Justice Services at Together, said:

Young people come into contact with the police for all sorts of reasons – they may have mental health problems, issues with drugs and alcohol, and be at risk of abuse. Supporting them to tackle these difficult things in their lives can make the difference between a lifetime in and out of custody or working towards living the life they dream of.

We are thrilled that our Rotherham Pathways service has won this award, and that our similar service for adults in York was highly commended. Our belief is that the people we support are the experts in what works best for them, and our pathways services are designed to be flexible and allow people to define their own goals and the type of support they receive. When we equip people with the tools they need, they can lead their own journey to wellbeing.

Rotherham Pathways is one of six projects that make up the T2A Alliance’s three-year national Transition to Adulthood Pathway programme to deliver interventions to young adults involved with the criminal justice system. T2A (Transition to Adulthood) is an initiative of the Barrow Cadbury Trust’s criminal justice programme. Together runs Rotherham Pathways in partnership with South Yorkshire Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group, and Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH).