YPS Fact Sheet

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Funding Needed For Cambridge Young People's Service

Over the past 33 years the Cambridge Young People's Service (YPS) has become renowned for helping thousands of young people with mental health problems back into society. The YPS is a preventative, early intervention psychotherapeutic service and one of only a few specialist mental health services for young people in the UK. It is run by a team of highly trained, highly motivated specialists dedicated to helping troubled young adults resume their lives in the workplace, in education and with their families. We now face the devastating prospect of this essential resource being closed for good unless we are able to raise enough funds to keep it open. As you can imagine, the closure of this invaluable service will have a detrimental impact on the city's young population, residents and students alike, their families and carers.

This is a result of the unfortunate widespread NHS cuts. The Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) have decided that the Young People's Service (YPS) should close by Autumn 2006. The PCTs acknowledge that the decision to close the YPS is purely financial and does not reflect on the excellent level of care provided by the Service.

What Does the Young People's Service Do?

The YPS is an outpatient psychotherapy service for 16-25 year-olds with psychological and developmental difficulties or mental illness. It also helps them with accommodation, education and work, and with issues relating to independence, identity and difficult relationships with families, peers and the outside world.

Over 500 new patients are referred each year of which about 20% are students, and our excellent success rate means that 76% are able to return to work or education following treatment with us.

Cambridge is a young people's city with two major universities, several sixth form colleges and a Regional FE College. There are 28,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 25 years, 26% of the city's population. However, with its international reputation and prestige, being at Cambridge can make unforgiving demands on students both academically and socially, and many become ill as a result. The YPS treats over 70 university students each year whose serious problems threaten to derail their education and leave them with a sense of failure.

The YPS offers a range of services: individual and family consultations; individual psychotherapy; cognitive-behavioural therapy; group psychotherapy; family therapy; art therapy; social work; and a non-residential five-day-a-week therapeutic community (TC) for severely disturbed young adults as an alternative to hospital admission. The YPS is youth-centred and flexible, not only in how it offers appointments - mindful of term times, college and work hours - but also in its treatment approaches. We work closely with other psychiatric services, and with statutory and voluntary agencies and also offer training opportunities.

The Young People We Help

All the young people we see are in desperate need.

  • Lisa, 18, a student, with a history of family violence and of being bullied at school, presented as mute because she believed that adults were violent and had no interest in her. Treatment has helped her to become assertive and confident.
  • Tim, 20, was caught up in drug dealing, violence and petty crime. His problems stemmed from unresolved grief over the sudden death of both his parents when he was 12. Treatment has helped him to grieve, come off drugs and find work.
  • Jordan, 21, a student brought up in care, was a witness to a drug-related murder. Death threats forced him to flee his home town. He was lonely, isolated and unable to mix with his peers for fear of betraying himself and of being exposed. Treatment has helped him to manage his fears, continue his education and also find a part-time job.
  • Laura, 22, rejected by her family, was a young mother with a chaotic life. Services found her difficult because she made up stories to get out of seemingly intolerable situations. Psychotherapy has helped her to contain her anxieties, examine her difficulties and use the help offered to her.
  • Rachel, 21, a student with an eating disorder, relationship problems and estrangement from her family, saw her education collapse after the first year of college. She attended the therapeutic community for a year, which helped her to return to college, repair her relationships with her family and friends.

All these patients had a history of serious self-harm and suicidal behaviour, and had found it difficult to access help from adult services. Without the kind of help the YPS offers, youngsters like Lisa, Tim, Jordan, Laura and Rachel, will have nowhere to go and will spiral into further despair and isolation, with less chance of getting well.

Why Should We Care?

===Investing in our future:=== We invest in our future by investing in our young people. The needs of young people are highlighted in several of the Government's recent proposals and initiatives including the recent budget. An independent investigation into the treatment of children and young adults in prison, led by Lord Carlisle QC (2006), points to a serious lack of psychiatric services for this age group.

===Value for money:=== The YPS, with all its therapeutic activities, is innovative and good value for money. A National Audit Office report (1996) states that there is a saving of £7 to the State\'s Exchequer for every £1 spent on children and young people's mental health services.

It benefits not only the youngsters who are seen in the Unit, but also the wider community as well. It reduces hospital admissions, visits to GPs, consumption of prescription drugs and days lost by ill health, with additional savings in other parts of the health and social systems. For example, the patients in the therapeutic community (TC) all together have occupied hospital beds for fewer than four days per year over the last five years. Over 3/4s of young people treated in the TC over the last five years have returned to work or education, some doing both and this alone has made significant savings to mental health services and to society.

How Can You Help Save the YPS?

The immediate target is to raise £170,000 by 30^th^ September. This will give the Service a secure base on which to develop a more autonomous and financially viable structure for its new circumstances.

This issue is urgent and vital. All youngsters deserve a future. Their future is our society\'s future. Please give generously to enable the YPS to continue helping our young people.

You can pledge a donation - no amount is too small - by visiting our website. Or you can email, telephone or write to us at the contact details below. We will only ask you to honour your pledge when enough has been achieved to save the service.

Dr Shankarnarayan Srinath

Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy, Cambridge Young People's Service

Douglas House, 18a Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 2AH

Tel: 01223 726145 Fax: 01223 726141

Web: www.cambridgeypsappeal.org

E-mail: enquiries@cambridgeypsappeal.org


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