Health and health inequalities are a common theme running throughout all YSS services, and we are always  proactively looking to improve health outcomes for the people we support.

In 2011 YSS secured four years funding from the Lloyds Bank Foundation to increase the knowledge and understanding of YSS staff and volunteers  around mental health problems for people in the Criminal Justice System. This was as a result of the The Bradley Report, published in 2009, which was a review of people with mental health problems in the criminal justice system commissioned by the Secretary of State for Justice.

This project has all the hallmarks of the positive YSS approach: a holistic approach to service users, meaningful and flexible engagement, and good knowledge of the work of partner agencies in the local criminal justice system.  Whilst there has been considerable progress nationally since my 2011 review was published, the severity and complexity of need of those in the criminal justice system remains high. YSS have illustrated the importance of co-commissioning and close partnership working between agencies to ensure that a client’s offending history does not act as barrier to access to mental health services.

 The work of this project shows the value and creativity that a voluntary sector organisation like YSS can provide by working in partnership with the statutory services.

 Rt Hon Lord Bradley

Royal Society for Public Health

YSS became a registered UK centre in 2011. The Royal Society for Public Health is an awarding body regulated by Ofqual (Office of the Qualification and Examinations Regulator, formerly QCA), independent regulator of qualifications and examinations in the UK. As an awarding body, the RSPH has to ensure its qualifications are of high quality, are fit for purpose and command public confidence.


Mental Health First Aid Training (MHFA)

First Aid is the help given to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained. Mental Health First Aid is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem, or a person in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate treatment is received or until the crisis resolves.

While people often know a lot about common physical health problems, there is widespread ignorance of mental health problems. This ignorance adds to stigmatising attitudes and prevents people from seeking help early and seeking the best sort of help. It also prevents people from providing appropriate support to colleagues and family members, simply because they do not know how.

The most common and disabling mental health problems are depression, anxiety disorders and psychotic disorders. Mental health problems are very common. In any one year about one in four adults experience a mental health problem. Many people suffer mental ill health for a long time before they seek help. Alcohol and drug problems can often occur with depression, anxiety and psychosis.

YSS employs a qualified mental health worker who is trained to deliver Mental Health First Aid Training, which is provided to YSS staff and volunteers. The training enables them to spot the early signs of a mental health problem, feel confident helping someone experiencing a problem, provide help on a first aid basis, help prevent someone from hurting themselves or others, help stop a mental illness from getting worse, help someone recover faster, guide someone towards the right support and reduce the stigma of mental health problems.


Time to Change

YSS signed up to the Time to Change Employer Pledge in 2015 to demonstrate its commitment to change how we think and act about mental health in the workplace and make sure that employees who are facing these problems feel supported. By signing the Pledge we joined a growing movement of more than 500 employers in England across all sectors recognising that looking after the mental health of our employees makes business sense: tackling stigma can make a real difference to staff wellbeing and productivity.