Surge in demand for free mental health service in West Sussex

A West Sussex mental health service for 16-25 year olds has seen a surge in demand for mental health support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 5:56 pm

Be OK, a free service run by BHT Sussex, said the number of new referrals had more than doubled in the year up to April 2021 compared to the previous year.

The service, which operates in Mid and West Sussex, helps young people who are struggling, providing one-to-one support from peers and professionals, as well as groups and activities.

“What Be OK offers is really flexible support that starts with the young person,” said Rachael Kenny, director of mental health and support services for BHT Sussex.

Be OK supports young people who are struggling with their mental health. Picture: BHT Sussex

“It starts with what they’re worried about and what they want to achieve, and works with them to make a plan about building up their resilience and resources to cope with what life throws at them,” she added.

Be OK has adapted since the start of the pandemic, moving much of its support online.

The service also discovered that many young people find it easier to engage with groups online rather than in-person, and made the young person’s mental health support group weekly instead of fortnightly.

Be OK is set to launch a new peer support group this month for young people on the autism spectrum, as well as a therapeutic group for people with borderline personality disorder in the near future.

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