By Arnaud GOULLIART and Jérôme RASTELLO, ARHM Foundation – Jean Bergeret Regional Institute, France.
This project, the result of the partnership between the Institut Bergeret and the Unis-Cité Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes association, is a social innovation project aimed at the most vulnerable young people and responding to an unmet need, mental health, by a “peer to peer” approach that has shown its effectiveness. The project is aimed at the most fragile young people with mental suffering and involves in its terms a strong participation of beneficiaries. Faced with the alarming findings of growing ill-being among vulnerable young people, it is important to be able to develop innovative solutions that promote the early detection of signs of suffering, the use of prevention and care systems and the decompartmentalization of the actors. Based on a recognized commitment mechanism, the Civic Service, contributing in a mission in favor of the community to strengthen the social link, the project aims to train and support in 2020 16 young volunteers in order to intervene with young people in fragile situation, in a complementary prevention strategy. Since September 2019, the project has been successfully tested in the Rhône department with 8 young volunteers and with around twenty structures mobilized. And among these structures, the Universities of Lyon, University Health Services and CROUS have shown great interest in this approach. Based on these findings, the project is being considered at the level of other departments as part of its spin-off strategy, with in 2020 an intervention planned in the department of Isère in partnership with the local branch of Unis Cité and the Isère department. This project aims to support young people in psychological suffering and in vulnerable situations and more specifically to: 1 / Promote early identification and access to care and prevention for 500 most vulnerable young people 2 / Recruit, train and support 16 young volunteers in civic service as a mental health ambassador (young people are particularly trained in First Aid in Mental Health-PSSM) 3 / Identify and promote local prevention and care measures for young people with mental health problems 4 / Improve capacity front-line professionals from educational, social and medico-social structures to identify / guide young people with mental health problems and to network. This is a piloted year for the project which began in November 2019. If the health crisis experienced in recent months could have marked a halt in the deployment of this project, it was rather a source of creativity, motivation and rebound for the young Ambassadors invested in this mission. This crisis has highlighted a significant impact on the mental health of young people who are particularly vulnerable during periods of confinement. Their daily life has been shaken up, for some the anguish generated by the health crisis has complicated the experience of this confinement, especially as the lack of perspective in their studies and their professional life is an additional unknown. In this context, we responded to a call for initiatives from FEHAP “Covid19 and Containment: Let us not forget the most vulnerable”. Our initiative was aimed at more than 1000 young people aged 16 to 25 in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, in a situation of isolation and who may be in a situation of psychological suffering given the impacts of confinement. Our solution has made it possible to provide psycho-educational support to young people aged 16 to 25 in a situation of isolation and vulnerability (teleconsultations, supervision workshops of prevention provided by professionals), in the context of confinement and in complementarity with the “Mental health ambassadors” project. The young Ambassadors having become involved in the implementation, whether by facilitating exchanges with other young people on Discord (web platform) and the dissemination of information and useful resources on Instagram “Confinetoicestsympa”.