New Peer Mentoring Service for Young People in Camden

6 October 2017

A ground breaking and innovative peer mentoring programme for children and young people in Camden is being launched on this year's World Mental Health Day, Tuesday 10 October 2017.

Young people sitting on a bench

Fitzrovia Youth in Action (FYA), Mind in Camden and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust have formed a partnership to co-produce peer mentoring initiatives with a range of schools and youth clubs in Camden. The programme will train young people as mentors to offer time-limited peer mentoring relationships to children and young people who are at least two years younger. Method, a design consultancy, will be working pro bono on the project to ensure that young people’s voices are incorporated at all stages and influence the design and delivery of the work.

‘The model we’re using could be described as guided self-help,’ explains Brian Dawn, Chief Executive of Mind in Camden. ‘Peer mentors will support mentees help themselves to do life-enhancing things, such as improve their problem-solving skills, reduce isolation and increase their self-confidence. Peer mentors will also benefit from increased skills in team work, communication and leadership.’

Designated staff from host agencies will coordinate mentoring between mentors and mentees. Training and support will be provided so that at least 20% of host agencies will be able to extend the service independently after the initial training.

‘The Tavistock and Portman will work alongside our partners to ensure that policies and procedures are robust and safe, and to provide advice about referral pathways,’ adds Emilios Lemoniatis, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Tavistock and Portman. ‘By the end of the first year, we aim to have worked with 8 schools or youth clubs, trained 80 peer mentors, and engaged 160 mentees over 480 sessions.’

‘As the Camden’s leading youth action charity, I’m very excited to be developing this ambitious programme with Mind in Camden and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, and drawing on their mental health expertise,’ says Andre Schott, Director of FYA

‘What’s different and exciting about this programme is that it is co-produced with young people, so that it is geared towards their needs, and is youth-led, flexible, fun and safe for all young people involved.’

Jordan Bennett is currently a peer educator with FYA’s mental health and substance misuse awareness programmes. Jordan says ‘I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact of young people helping other young people. I look forward to joining the peer mentoring programme and help make it a success.’

The programme will be launched at an event in Camden on World Mental Health Day, 10th October. Young people will make presentations about peer education programmes they have run at schools and youth clubs across Camden and screen mental health awareness films they have made.  At the event, young people will also run workshops and consult other young people about the new peer mentoring programme

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The launch will take place from 5-7pm at the Hive, Harben Parade, 18 Finchley Rd, London NW3 6JR. Everyone is welcome, please contact FYA for more information.     

If you, your school or youth club are interested in getting involved in the programme, please contact Andre Schott, Director of FYA at Andre.Schott@fya.org.uk.