20 Jun 2016

Hub discovers learning opportunities for people with mental ill health

A service supporting individuals with mental ill health into education has been officially launched at York St John University.

Discovery Hub launchThe Discovery Hub, a partnership project between Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) and York St John University, provides support to people aged 18 and over, who are currently using community mental health or affective services in York. Peer support workers with lived experience of mental ill health work closely with individuals, helping them to identify, apply for and access appropriate learning opportunities as well as supporting their continued engagement.

Signposting advice and guidance is available to anyone who has experienced mental health illness and is interested in exploring learning opportunities.  Discovery Hub staff also deliver mental health awareness training to education providers to help them support learners with mental health illnesses.

Emma McKenzie, Discovery Hub manager, said: “Accessing learning opportunities helps individuals who are often isolated due to their ill health reconnect with the wider community.  It helps them to create an identity outside that of ‘service user’ and gives them a positive, purposeful activity to engage with, helping them to feel hopeful about the future.”

"Since we first opened our doors in April 2015 as part of a pilot project, we have received 122 referrals and have helped 78 people to access a variety of courses.  We work in partnership with Converge at York St John University, who provide a full programme of arts based courses aimed solely at users of mental health services, as well as the wider community to access a range of learning opportunities.”

Margaret, who has benefited from the services Emma and her team provide at the Discovery Hub said: “I was referred to the Discovery Hub and began a drawing class at Converge. The class re-ignited my passion for doing creative things and became a distraction and relief from my distress and troubled mind.  The Discovery Hub has helped me feel alive again. At the hub I feel I am treated with respect and understanding, which has increased my self-esteem.”

The Discovery Hub is hosted by Converge at York St John University. Converge is part funded by TEWW and offers a full programme of free arts based courses to users of mental health services aged 18 and over. Courses are taught by students and staff and take place on campus.

If you would like to find out more, or think you would benefit from talking to someone from the service please email . More information is also available on the Discovery Hub's webpage.