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End of one chapter, start of another.

My contracted piece of work at York mind, is coming to an end, 31OCT23!

I was contracted to design/create, facilitate, and evaluate an early intervention and suicide prevention programme for young males or young people representing as male between the ages of 11-16 years old.

And you know what I’m going to blow my own trumpet because I did a good, no I DID A GREAT job! We are not encouraged to blow our own trumpet as it is seen as bragging but you know what TOOT TOOT to me!

I did a bloody good job! And I feel proud of myself and what the programme has achieved! Now before I describe what the project entailed and what it achieved – I must state that I couldn’t have done it without Kelly my new work colleague and now friend.

Now I have worked in York since 1998 in so many different settings, the list is endless: youth worker for Young People’s Service, formerly known as the York Youth Service, drama workshop leader at Youth Theatre Yorkshire, Level Three Family Centre Worker within Children Services, manager of the Basement for CYP using drama, film and music as the medium, youth work trainer for CYC, trainer for York Training Centre, tutor at York college and then I went freelance!

Deciding to go freelance was an excellent but scary decision. However, it has enabled me to pick and choose the projects I have got involved in, since 2018! It helped me to explore where my interests really lie and what work makes my heart sing and where I want to contribute to in life.

My Freelance projects thus far:

Worked with some amazing companies; Spark*, Love Cheese and Discover, Snapsales.

1:1 confidence work with CYP and Adults alike.

Designed, facilitated, and evaluated group work in various charity, public and private sectors: York Mind within the CYP and adult sector, Sure Start in Scarborough, Santander Bank, Leeds, Lighthouse School, Leeds, York Theatre Royal, BCSY, Community First Yorkshire, Community Works, and St Peter’s School!

Now I’ve digressed and you probably wondering what the hell has that got to do with anything right now, as I was blowing my own trumpet about the suicide and early intervention project?! But without the plethora of experience and contacts I have in good old York and surrounding areas, I don’t think I would have been able to pull this project off! So, a massive Toot Toot to all the businesses that got involved in this project; seven in fact and eight schools! You too are AWESOME!

I have been working freelance for York Mind on and off (dependant on funding and projects) since January 2021! I started doing 1:1 with CYP (children and young people) during the third lockdown, offering mental health support via zoom or on the phone! This eventually led on to face to face group work, once we had moved on within the pandemic. I also started running groups with the adult activities team within York Mind: ‘Dealing with Anger’ and ‘Host support’ groups for York residents hosting Ukrainian families.

I was approached in July 2022 to put my hat in the ring for this contracted piece of work and I did without hesitation! I wanted to do this piece of work for personal and professional reasons!

The project was split into two halves; Sport and Mental Health and Graffiti/Art and Mental Health, this was decided by a young male steering group before I started the contract and that is all I had to go on!

Active Minds (sport and mental health) was an hour of sport and then half an hour of mental health chat. My mind on a mural (graffiti and mental health) was ninety mins all together.

We worked with four local sport provisions in York, where we combined mental health and physical health together. This worked extremely well together as the young people were able to engage in the sport but then also had a place to chat about how they were feeling and discuss any concerns they had in a safe environment.

The graffiti/art sessions were divided into three categories; Pain or lost, Help and Hope. In the groups we explored what this meant to the young people and explored this through art. The end products were the brief given to Keith Hopewell to graffiti the pieces of art.

These pieces of art have been exhibited at Fabrication, Coney Street, York, The Barn, Tadcaster, York and now its showcasing at Leeds United Football Club. I can envisage it at York Station and hope it can make its way there in the not-so-distant future!

The early intervention and suicide prevention program had nearly 200 young males who attended and the feedback given is that the majority, if not all gained something from attending. The artwork displayed will go on to reach many more young people, men, and families. I hope the exhibition, can continue to create open and honest conversations around suicide and for us all to learn that we are not our thoughts.

Thanks for reading!

Stef Bricklebank

Please make contact if you need/want a project devising and managing or want to work with me on something specific! I am contactable via the normal means: email, LinkedIn, socials or a good old fashion phone call! Look forward to hearing from you very soon!

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