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New contracts give safe spaces to support children's mental health

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Two organisations have been selected to provide more therapeutic interventions to children and young people in Nottinghamshire.

Base 51 and Al-Hurraya have been awarded contracts from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire to provide counselling services to reduce crime through early interventions.

Therapeutic counselling offers a space to talk about thoughts and feelings in a safe environment with a trained professional.

This approach aims to improve mental wellbeing and to help children and young people understand their emotions and actions whilst learning skills and techniques to make improvements in their lives.

The type of therapy used is known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and is a type of talking therapy that has been used to address a range of psychological difficulties.

When it is applied to violence prevention, it is based on the idea that negative or impulsive thoughts and behaviours might make someone more likely to lash out or act aggressively.

The funding will help people like Billy, who was left with low self-esteem and confidence after being attacked on a night out with friends in Nottingham.

Prior to this he had come out of a relationship that he described as both physically and mentally abusive and although the ex-partner was not involved directly with the attack, it is felt that they may have been involved in its planning as several threats had been made to his physical safety.

After the traumatic event Billy - not his real name - withdrew from his friends, left his job and was sacred to go into Nottingham again.

He consequently began experiencing panic attacks and would relive the experience of the assault.

Therapeutic interventions through Base 51 have allowed Billy to develop his ability to verbalise his story and name the feelings associated with his experience.

He said: “It's been good to externalise my feelings and make sense of things.

“I’ve noticed that I’m doing more things outside of counselling now and I’m certainly less anxious. I struggle with my anger still but know how to manage it.”

Base 51, a Nottingham youth charity who work with people aged 11-25, has been contracted through its programme Evolution Plus, which offers a trauma-focussed therapy intervention.

Base 51 CEO Jo Jepson said: “Base 51 is delighted to have been successful in securing this contract.

“The Evolution Plus programme offers specialist support to young people; whether they are a victim or perpetrator of serious violence, aiming to help young people to break the cycle of trauma and reduce the risk of further harm.

“It is a great addition to our existing range of programmes and key to delivering our core aims which include young people being safe, healthy and positively contributing to their community.”

Nottinghamshire has an array of diverse communities that require a culturally competent approach and interventions adaptive to specific cultural needs relating to beliefs and values. 

This means there also needs to be services which knock down cultural barriers which could deter people from getting the help they need. 

Al-Hurraya sets itself aside from mainstream services by providing bespoke, personalised, culturally-specific interventions targeted specifically at Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, Refugee and other emerging communities.

Asad Fazil, founder and director of Al-Hurraya, said: “The level of mental health issues across young people has increased drastically since the first lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As a service we anticipated there would be a surge in client referrals and we knew that the demand for our culturally-specific counselling would increase.

“As expected, we have seen a rise in referrals and we also now have a waiting list of clients who require support.

“We are a small charity and rely on funding to be able to deliver and keep improving our services and we were concerned that we would not have the necessary funding to be able to meet this new increased demand and have the capacity to deliver what was needed by local young people.

“Due to the importance of our services, we put a focus on sustainability and are always looking for new funding opportunities.

“With this contract we are given three years’ peace of mind as we will be able to work with more clients, provide more counselling hours over a timescale that suits them so that we can achieve the best possible outcomes for the children and young people we are working with.

“Our humanistic counselling interventions will not only support beneficiaries but also their families, helping them to improve their overall mental wellbeing and quality of life.”

The Youth Endowment Fund’s research suggests Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is effective in both reducing crime overall and behaviours associated with crime and violence.

The evidence shows that on average Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has reduced crime by 27% and also reduces behavioural difficulties.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire Caroline Henry is responsible for commissioning services which respond efficiently and effectively to local need, prevent crime and support victims and survivors.

Commissioner Henry said: “I am happy to announce that Base 51 and Al-Hurraya have been granted these contracts to extend their services, enabling them to respond to public need.

“Therapeutic intervention at an early age can prevent crime in the long run by teaching children and young people how to manage and understand their emotions in a healthy way.

“I strongly believe that the contracts have gone to two organisations who will effectively deliver the therapy and support our young people in need across Nottinghamshire.”

Posted on Thursday 8th December 2022
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