Vision to make Sidmouth first mental health friendly town

Sidmouth Youth Centre. Ref shs 06 18TI 7347. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Youth Centre. Ref shs 06 18TI 7347. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A charter is being drawn up as part of a long term vision to make Sidmouth the country’s first ‘mental health friendly town’.

Ben Feasey, youth co-ordinator at Sidmouth Youth Centre, says a mental health action group is currently working on a document that outlines the standard of services required in the town.

The charter aims to identify needs and gaps in provisions and work with local organisations, professional services and the community to support one another.

The group will also work together to secure funding for projects to support young people.

Mr Feasey hopes that once the charter is in place, it can be used to form a mental health friendly town project - which would be run like the dementia friendly scheme.

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He said: “We are trying to be the first mental health friendly town.

“We hope to help train different organisations and businesses across the town to support people who present with mental health issue and to be able to signpost them and increase that empathy. Our mission in our charter so far is that we will be able to get a commission service in place that supports young people’s mental health need on a local needs led basis, for those that do not meet threshold but still need support.

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We recognise that we are stronger together. Most of my job is having the same conversation, how there are a lack of services or money.

“We thought the best way is to get everyone in the same room and trying to work together to get bigger pools of money. We just need to get round the table.”

The action group is made up of representatives from the health and care forum, mental health charity Headlight, Young Devon, EDDC, Sidmouth Town Council and primary and secondary school.

Young people are being invited to a meeting on the last Monday of every month to help the group identify gaps in supporting them.

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