A new website for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown that lets young people search for services based on how they are feeling, where their ‘headspace is at’ and what kind of service contact they want.
Young people told Dun Laoghaire Rathdown CYPSC they'd be encouraged to seek help if they could see the ‘human face’ of a service, and get a sense of ‘what is that service really about’ before they first make contact.
This has resulted in the new website www.LetsTalkDLR.ie informed by a youth-designed innovative search approach which delivers a unique user experience. A young person can click on how they are feeling, where they live and what kind of service contact they would like. They will then see a tailored selection of relevant services offering mental health supports that match their individual issues and support preferences.
The young website user can also click on a short video made by each service in ‘youth friendly’ language to hear what the service offers. Young people had advised the CYPSC that
Seeing the ‘human face’ to a service can encourage their willingness to reach out and seek support.
Given the additional stress of the current pandemic on mental health, each service has a special section on ‘service changes during COVID-19’ which details what supports are available.
This innovative web based solution came about because in 2018 the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown CYPSC consultation process identified that ‘supporting youth mental health’ was the number 1 priority for the youth population of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. However young people advised that they found it difficult to find information on what existing mental health services and supports were already available, to know which service was the ‘right’ service for their needs, and to understand how to gain access or a referral to those services.
To develop a novel solution to these service access issues, a Department of Children and Youth Affairs ‘What Works’ Innovation grant was secured in 2019 by Crosscare Youth Services supported by DLR CYPSC. The project aim was to work in a participatory empowering way with young people to ensure services become ‘visible, accessible and responsive to young people’s mental health needs.’
A number of consultations, events and planning meetings were held with young people from diverse backgrounds including young people with lived experience of mental health issues and service use. The outcomes of this process was the decision that there should be a specific website highlighting all available services in the county but that this should not just be the usual ‘static service listing’ .
The subsequent ‘co-production’ website design process revealed that young people wanted to search for services based on how they are feeling, where their ‘headspace is at’ and what kind of service contact they want for example text / online chat / in person individual or group support.
According to Lorna Kerin, the CYPSC Co-ordinator in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown
“This year long process of needs identification, consultation and co-production with young people and with services has resulted in a very practical, useful and easily accessible online platform which will result in better awareness, knowledge and use of the many services that support young people with their mental health and wellbeing."
Lorna also noted that
“Many of the services featured are not called ‘youth mental health services’ but staff members trained in therapeutic approaches offer vital prevention and early intervention supports which if accessed may prevent deterioration of youth mental health. However it’s important that young people and parents are also aware of what primary care, specialist and crisis services are also available in the county so the access routes to those are clearly explained on the website also.”
The Lets Talk DLR Youth Advisory Panel were recently awarded a CYPSC Certificate of Contribution to services in their county at an online celebration ceremony with the website's core project team and parents, Crosscare Youth Services, DLR CYPSC and the website designer Sam Whelan Curtain. One mother attending the celebration remarked
‘My hope is that all young people in Ireland get to experience their leadership qualities by being involved in projects like this with the CYPSC, I am so proud of what they have accomplished’.
Click here to find out more about the child and youth population of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.
For more information on Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown CYPSC Click here.
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