C U Thru Dundee
A story by Support In Mind Scotland Tayside
C U Thru Dundee & Angus offers support to young people with complex and enduing mental health difficulties, and support for their parents/carers.
C U Thru is able to support young people and their parents/carers to identify activities and opportunities that they would like to explore and actively take part in.
What C U Thru Dundee did
CU Thru Dundee & Angus started with a Youth Worker in July 2015 working very closely with the MACX Team (Multi-Agency Complex Cases) part of the CAMHS service at Dudhope in Dundee. Our initial recruitment drive did not fill the activities coordinator post so Support in Mind Scotland invested funds to change the role to that of a Manager with direct one to one support responsibilities as well. This proved to be crucial in establishing meaningful and productive relationships with the MACX team and networking/liaison with other statutory and voluntary service agencies.
Our referrals came directly from the MACX team. It meant that there was an already established relationship with the young people and families. It meant that the C U Thru staff were not coming in cold to support the families and because of the intense and positive experiences that the young people and parents/carers had with the MACX team they were open and receptive to the support that was available from C U Thru.
The young people we supported were able to access a variety of activities pursuits from time in a recording studio, swimming, baking/cooking, visits to beauticians/hair dressers/pool/science exhibits/cinema/gym/Tao Kwando/make up lessons/volunteering activities. Their parents or carers used the time that was then available for them without any caring responsibilities to carry out everyday household tasks, attend aqua aerobics, socialise with their own friends/other family members/attend funerals/pampering for themselves/pursuing their own interests such as playing musical instruments.
OA had been in the unit for nearly a year so it did feel like a huge move being at home again, full time, even although she had had passes home. The biggest challenge was knowing that mum, sister and step-dad would be out at work during the day and it was making sure that OA knew that people were going to be engaging with her, supporting her to visit other places (volunteer placement) go into her home and facilitate cooking/baking sessions, to build up her confidence.
OA was also in the transition from CAMHS to Adult Mental Health services and C U Thru was able to offer her familiarity and continuity whilst this transition took place.
We have been able to support AI to visit a beautician, local woodland park, and beach, take away outlets, science centre. This has introduced AI to other activities that have been lacking in her day to day living. It has shown AI that there is a life beyond her front door in spite of the mental health and physical challenges she faces there is a whole other world and people outside, and she has a taste for that now, and wants it to continue with the right support.
It has not been an easy transition with DNA’s at Lithium clinics, appointments with consultants and CPNs, despite an incredible amount of support and encouragement from IL’s Dad. C U Thru has been able to support IL and his Dad and IL has benefited from going out to pursue activities that were a regular feature in IL’s social calendar before he was unwell. Slowly he is regaining the motivation and confidence to start arranging and attending these kinds of activities with his own peers.
What Support In Mind Scotland Tayside has learnedThis has been an incredible learning experience for Support in Mind Scotland, Tayside, C U Thru, Dundee and Angus. The fund gave us the opportunity to work very closely with the Dundee and Angus Multi Agency Complex Cases team, this has been phenomenal. The way that C U Thru has been able to compliment the extraordinary work that MACX are responsible for has been so insightful for our future developments and supports. We have been able to engage with parents/carers who do not see themselves as traditional carers. They are “just a Mum” or “Just a Dad” or a Granny, or a Sister or a Brother or a Step-dad.
It has highlighted many areas we want to continue to develop in and support the evolving support of C U Thru, Dundee and Angus. We cannot let this end here. The young people and their parents/carers have been so generous in allowing us to explore what it is that would be beneficial for them. What supports are important to them? Where are there areas for improvement? It became very apparent that we would like to be in a position to offer more early intervention supports so that the young person and their parents/carers/families don’t have to wait until a crisis is reached before support is available.
We quickly learned (no surprise) that the young people needed time and a pace that suited them. The initial proposal was going to see regular group’s activities taking place in evenings and at weekends. This hasn’t happened because people’s anxieties were too fragile and it would have been non-productive to facilitate activities that were going to heighten people’s anxieties. Because we were able to establish one to one relationships with the young people we have been able to go accurately reflect the right pace and person centred support/response to each individual.