Over the last 4 years, we have consolidated our clinical approach into an innovative, evidence-based model called Integrate. The model evolved from working alongside a group of gang involved young people in Camden. We asked for their help to find what works for them.
The Integrate model takes mental health professionals out of the clinic and onto the streets to work with excluded young people where they are and when they need it. It is a radical approach taking what we know works in mental health and applying it in new ways. Integrate is underpinned by psychological theories; most notably community psychology theory, attachment theory, and lifespan developmental theory.
Integrate also seeks to address some of the social inequalities that cause young people to have issues in the first place by providing accessible and flexible employment opportunities and improving their financial inclusion. It achieves this by putting young people at the heart of its services and solutions.
Integrate is revolutionising the way mental health services are delivered to excluded young people by removing existing barriers to access and bringing all stakeholders together for new, preventative solutions to serious youth violence.
The model has received widespread acclaim (Home Office, 2011, North West Public Observatory, 2012, Youth Justice Working Group, 2012), and is now being tested at three pilot sites with new groups of young people over the next three years. Integrate offers a pioneering, long-term solution to the complex problem of poverty and youth offending.