Working together with a group of young people who found themselves involved in gangs, Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Charlie Howard (formerly Alcock), founded MAC-UK in 2008. Charlie wanted to use a youth-led approach to make mental health accessible to excluded young people within their own community.
Her aim was to work with young people to find new answers to the complex problem of youth offending. Now MAC-UK is recognised at a local and national level.
We believe that by putting mental health at the heart of solutions, we can find new answers to the complex problem of youth offending.
What we do
At MAC-UK , by putting mental health promotion and treatment at the heart of solutions, we aim to:
- reduce serious youth violence and re-offending.
- get young people engaged in training, education and/or employment.
- help young people connect with existing services.
Over the last 4 years, we have consolidated our clinical approach into an innovative, evidence-based model called Integrate . The model evolved from working alongside a group of gang involved young people in Camden. We asked for their help to find what works for them.
Young people peel off into Streetherapy at their own pace and wherever and whenever they feel comfortable. This can be anywhere, for example on a bus, in a stairwell, or whilst waiting at court. Streetherapy takes what we know works from the mental health field, and delivers it in a highly adaptive and flexible way.
The Integrate model takes mental health professionals out of the clinic and onto the streets to work with excluded young people where they are and when they need it. It is a radical approach taking what we know works in mental health and applying it in new ways. Integrate is underpinned by psychological theories; most notably community psychology theory, attachment theory, and lifespan developmental theory.
Integrate also seeks to address some of the social inequalities that cause young people to have issues in the first place by providing accessible and flexible employment opportunities and improving their financial inclusion.
Integrate works intensively for 2 to 4 years with up to 50 young people per year. These young people are among the 5% that commit 50% of youth crime and have a history of non-engagement with existing services. By giving them the opportunity to create and own a project they find interesting, whether that might be setting up a boxing club or DJ-ing, young people successfully engage.
Integrate also trains existing services, such as housing providers and the police, using a youth-led approach to enhance professionals’ understanding of young people’s mental health needs.
What our stakeholders say
I have recently come to know of this project and the people who work in it. It is unique and increasingly influential in the UK – representing the cutting edge of outreach initiatives with gang-involved young people with the added component of a mental health orientation. I think the model they have developed has a great deal to teach us and universal application.
Mental health has been sidelined in the discussion about how to tackle gangs and youth violence for far too long. MAC-UK’s approach is refreshing as it recognises how crucial it is that health and justice services have to work together in order to make headway and come up with real, long term solutions.
We are a small team but will do our best to respond to every inquiry.
Email us: email@example.com
Call us: 020 8801 9502