A drop-in centre for children to talk about their mental health or seek support will open in Peckham’s Rye Lane this May.
The centre is one of the council’s strategies to try and reach its target of making sure 100 per cent of young people in the borough receive the mental health support they need. In council briefing papers it is envisaged as looking like a “cross between a Starbucks and Apple store”.
There is a particular gap in provision for those under 25 who do not need specialist mental health care, but do need more support than can be given by schools or their GP.
To meet this need, the service will offer support to people with lower level mental health problems that can be managed outside a clinical setting. There will be an open access policy with no prior appointments needed.
The centre currently being designed with input from families and young people affected by mental health issues and will be run by Groundwork; an organisation that runs youth projects in Southwark.
Nationally, the borough already has been praised for the breadth of services it offers. A new report from the children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, looking at children’s mental health services across the country, highlighted that Southwark is one of four areas in the country where more than nine in ten children who are referred for mental health care actually go on to receive it.
The other four areas are Lambeth, Croydon and Corby, in the midlands. At the other end of the scale, ten clinical commissioning groups only go on to treat half of the children referred to them.
“I’m delighted that Anne Longfield, who attended our first meeting of the Commission, has recognised the excellent work taking place in Southwark to support our young people,” said Cllr Jasmine Ali, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for children, schools and adult care.
“But we know that we need to go much further if all our young people are to feel truly supported to enjoy good mental health.
“The new centre in Peckham, which has been designed with young people, will help us take a big step towards our 100 per cent ambition, but it is not the only solution.
“We will continue to work with our partners in health, the voluntary sector and with our schools, until every young person in Southwark has the support they need and deserve.”