Our vision is to inspire the creation of youth mental health services for the future – support for young people to build health and well-being in our future communities. When we think about health, we are often drawn to thinking about health being the absence of a disease or disorder. Youthinc started creating a vision for young people, from the basis of the 1948 world health organisation definition of health as ‘complete physical, mental and social well-being.’ If all we think about is the states of disorder, or problems in children’s behaviour or mental health, then we are likely to miss the opportunities to promote healthy development. The history of residential care in the UK means that we have created a system of ‘containment’, where the most complex, troubled and high-risk children and young people often face multiple moves around the country, which is when placements break down, and problematic behaviours escalate.


At Birribi, as we began working with Youthinc in 2016, we introduced the idea of ‘home’ as a secure base, from which children and young people in residential care would be able to experience safety, security and a sense of trust in the relationships they might begin to form. A core concept for our model of intervention was to create the foundations and building blocks to promote positive states of health and mental health within a realistic model where is there is no distinction or separation of health and mental health. This is an integrated model where at its core of the concepts of the integration of identity, purpose and positive relationships. The building blocks therefore establish meaning and purpose, engagement in learning skills productive work and achievement. Good relationships with supportive and confidence building family and social relationships. These essential elements support any individual at any stage of their development and experiencing positive health and well-being.


The therapeutic model is called the Youth Centred Integrated Approach. It is a holistic approach that takes into account a rounded perspective on the whole person. We are specifically applying this approach to children and young people. The model takes into account all these building blocks, these core concepts of how we establish health, and then consistently applies interventions across all these building blocks concurrently. The model rests on the foundations which create not only the building blocks for positive mental health and the prevention of ill health, but also provides the same model and foundations for intervention and treatment of severe ill-health or the treatment of severe disruptions and damage to social emotional development in childhood.


Through future blogs posts, we will share the goings-on at Birribi, and discuss the model and its foundations in attachment theory, trauma-informed practice, and the application of this multi-systemic approach in practice within a residential care setting.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Albert Einstein