The Hive has been nominated for a Royal Society of Public Health award for its work engaging young people in Camden. Our Director of Young People and Families Kate Wareham talks us through the project and why it works so well.
The centre looks and feels like a cross between a social hub and youth club and the vibe is a welcoming and therapeutic environment – very few of our young people would see themselves as being part of a mental health service. The service allows workers to take a unique approach to each young person. We can spend up to six months engaging a young person and will use creative activities to encourage them to engage with us. This could be anything from going to a nail bar, taking a pottery class, going to a museum, or taking a run together- whatever that young person is interested in.
This is a unique approach to mental health – viewing mental health in the widest possible terms and creating a service that is non-clinical, accessible, flexible, and creative. We find that this inclusive approach helps keep each young person at the centre of their own journey.
The Hive is essentially a fusion of youth work and mental health work – bringing and bridging the very best of each. The Hive is jointly commissioned by the Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Camden Council led by Catch22 in partnership with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Anna Freud Centre, The Brandon Centre, and The Winch. This highly unique partnership is invaluable to the success, as each partner brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the areas of mental health, youth work and local Camden knowledge, as well as clinical governance structures that ensure all the work done with young people is safe and secure. Each partner seconds staff members into the project so each partner has an equal stake in ensuring the success of the project.
The Hive was commissioned following the tragic suicide of a young person in Camden. This young person had been bounced between services as they did not fit the criteria for secondary services. Camden realised they needed to rethink their approach to young people’s mental health. They commissioned research to review young people’s mental health in Camden and highlighted that 25% young people who had mental health problems were not receiving any support at all- either formally or informally. Off the back of this, The Hive was co-designed with young people to ensure that the service met the complex needs of young people and be a place young people would like to come to.
Since the service started in September 2015, The Hive has grown considerably and is now one of the go-to mental health services for young people in Camden – trusted and respected by young people and professionals. The service is deeply embedded within the Camden community and is proving to be of fundamental importance in providing mental health support to young people. This is due to the flexible and unique approach the service takes in working with young people. The success of the Hive means that the number of young people receiving one to one support increased 39% year on year. The number of young people attending the Hub has also increased, and this year we reached 4,236 individuals.
As well as one-to-one support and group work, The Hive has also developed a social enterprise that supports young people to gain confidence and the skills needed to move into paid work. Walking London 22 trains up young people to deliver tours around Camden- and was commissioned by UCL to deliver health and wellbeing tours to its new students during fresher’s week.
We founded The Hive alongside young people, and they continue to work with us to improve the service. The project has three youth boards, one for each aspect of the service (mentoring, hub and social enterprise) so young people can continually feedback and help us improve.
The voices of young people are at the heart of delivery at The Hive – they created the model with us, they use its services and they make sure it will continue to meet the needs of the young people who need it.