Improved mental health support for young people in East Sussex

Local mental health services and the local authority has committed to improving mental health support for children and young people in East Sussex by opening two new drop-in centres and launching a Single Point of Advice for mental health referrals. 

i-Rock drop-in centres are a place where young people aged 14-25 can seek support for a number of things including mental health, wellbeing, housing, employment and education. Two new branches open following the success of the first i-Rock branch which opened in Hastings during July 2016, and will be located in Newhaven at Denton Island Community Centre and Eastbourne on Seaside Road.

A partnership service led by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, East Sussex County Council and the three East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s), i-Rock works closely with a wide range of third sector providers including Sussex Community Development Association (SCDA), Southdown Housing, Youth Employability Service and Counselling Plus.

The East Sussex Single Point of Advice (SPoA) launched last month. The new service arrangement, when mental health staff joined the existing County Council team, allows referrers to make one referral to the SPoA, who triage the referral and identify which service would be most suitable for the needs of the individual.

The simplified referral route eliminates the need for multiple referrals to a number of organisations and services, and most importantly helps children, young people and families to access the right support for them in a timely way.

Viki Ashby, Local Transformation Plan Project Manager for Sussex Partnership’s East Sussex Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, said: “It is really important to us that our services are easily accessible for young people when they need specialist support for their mental health and emotional wellbeing. By having i-Rock in three locations across the county, and with the addition of the improved Single Point of Advice (SPoA) for East Sussex, we think this is going to make a big difference and really improve the support that we can offer. 

Alistair McGrory, Operations Manager for SPoA at East Sussex County Council, said: “It’s brilliant that i-Rock in Hastings has been such a success which has initiated the opening of a further two sites. I think this is largely down to the fact that young people don’t need a referral or an appointment to come to see us at i-Rock - with our service they can just walk through the door and we will help them, either directly or by supporting them to access one of the many local organisations and charities that are available to support young people.”