By putting mental health promotion and treatment at the heart of solutions, the aims of Integrate are:
- To reduce serious youth violence and re-offending.
- To get young people engaged in training, education and/or employment.
- To help young people connect with existing services.
The Integrate Model works intensively for 2 to 4 years with up to 50 young people per year. These young people are among the 5% that commit 50% of youth crime and have a history of non-engagement with existing services. By giving them the opportunity to create and own a project they find interesting, whether that might be setting up a boxing club or DJ-ing, young people successfully engage.
The MAC-UK team works collaboratively with the young people on their chosen project, helping them to develop leadership and employment skills and build trusting relationships with MAC-UK staff. Young people peel off into ‘streetherapy©’ at their own pace and wherever and whenever they feel comfortable. This can be anywhere, for example on a bus, in a stairwell, or whilst waiting at court. Streetherapy takes what we know works from the mental health field, and delivers it in a highly adaptive and flexible way.
Integrate also trains existing services (e.g. housing providers, the police) using a youth-led approach to enhance professionals’ understanding of young people’s mental health needs.