To mark World Mental Health Day (10 October), the Health Innovation Kent Surrey and Sussex and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS) followed up on the 33 pledges made by local authorities, universities, voluntary organisations and other government departments, from across the region, to find out what progress they had made to better support young people leaving care.

The pledges were made by stakeholders from across Kent, Surrey Brighton & Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex and included: exploring how mental health teams can better support care leaves; running a buddy scheme, providing more support for parent/ pregnant care leavers and setting up walking groups.

This follows the Beyond Lockdown research project, that sought to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on care leavers’ well-being and support needs. Funded by the ARC KSS, the research took place from June until December 2020 by the University of Sussex and Creative Research Collective.

Health Innovation Kent Surrey Sussex (Health Innovation KSS) - formerly called Kent Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network - then set up a community of practice event, to discuss the findings of the research and the key messages produced by care leavers for Kent and Sussex.  During the event, individuals working with care leavers from local authorities, universities, voluntary sector organisations, National Health Service England and Department for Education, were invited to think of practical ways in which they would use the research findings to support care leavers and make a  pledge.

Find out more about the pledges here.

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