Lottery boost aids help for mental health programme

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A three-year programme aimed at tackling depression, anxiety and substance abuse among Luton’s homeless youth has been granted another three years of funding.

The mental health service, Open Minds has been awarded for the second time a grant of almost £278,000 by the Big Lottery Fund to provide Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to support vulnerable young people in Luton.

The project aims to help them develop much more positive ways of coping with life’s stresses and the challenges they might be facing in the course of their homelessness

Open Minds also supports young people who suffer from other difficulties such as socialising, phobias, obsessive behaviours, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and problems with relationships and families.

Most of the service users who took part previously were able to complete education and were able to access part/full-time or voluntary employment – hassle free.

Four local organisations are involved in the scheme – the University of Bedfordshire (UoB), Luton Community Housing (LCH), Mary Seacole Housing Association and Signposts Luton.

Michael Moses, Project leader at LCH, said: “Open Minds is a project that allows several organisations in the community to join forces and help vulnerable young people within the community.

“We are overwhelmed that the project has received another three years of funding from the Big Lottery Fund and with this, we hope to make a significant difference to our community.”

Antigonos Sochos, University of Bedfordshire’s Senior Lecturer in Psychology commented: “We are delighted to receive the second grant as the continuation of this service is very important.

“This service addresses a significant gap in the mental health provision for this vulnerable group and we hope that more individuals in need will now receive appropriate support. I would like to thank the Big Lottery Fund and all organisations and individuals involved.”