First steps to bring mental health peer support to Sidmouth

A mental health impact awareness day at Sidmouth College on May 19 will be led by the The Project's

A mental health impact awareness day at Sidmouth College on May 19 will be led by the The Project's founder and co-ordinator Debbie Humberstone. - Credit: Archant

Work is under way to establish a peer support network to get young people in the Sid Valley the help they need with mental health issues.

Sidmouth College

Sidmouth College - Credit: Archant

Council leaders and the Sidmouth Health and Wellbeing Forum have been looking at ways to bring The Project to Sidmouth and replicate the work it does in Axminster and Chard.

It will begin with a mental health impact awareness day at Sidmouth College on May 19, led by the organisation’s founder and co-ordinator Debbie Humberstone.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) community development worker Aaron Clark, who will help to run the sessions on May 19, said: “The Project is a fantastic group that supports local young people through various aspects of mental health, providing safe, friendly and interactive groups for them to attend and engage in positive activities. They also have extensive experience of running mental health awareness training and workshops for both young people and professionals, and feedback from students who’ve been to similar workshops has been extremely positive.

“The impact day aims to raise awareness around mental health issues, but also to look at the challenges of body image and how this impacts on young people. It will consist of hourly workshops for the entire year nine group at the college.”

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District councillor Matt Booth secured a Parishes Together Fund grant of £2,700 from EDDC on behalf of Sidmouth Town Council.

An EDDC spokeswoman said: “The grant will allow us to start up the project by identifying the needs of children and young people in Sidmouth. The eventual intention is to open a further support group in Sidmouth for young people living in and around the town.

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“Over the past three years, The Project has built up considerable evidence that its early intervention approach to young people’s mental health issues is extremely successful, getting great results for young people and their families and also being very cost effective.

“Over the past year, there have been lengthy and positive discussions between the different parties involved, and it is hoped that it will be possible to make this Sidmouth support group happen.

“Funding is always an issue that has to be overcome, but once there is agreement on all sides as to the way forward, work will begin on raising the money needed to bring The Project to Sidmouth.”

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