New approach to mental health support for children and young people

Published: Thursday, 19th July 2018

Children and young people experiencing mental health problems could benefit from more co-ordinated support with the launch of a new city and county-wide strategy.

Commissioners from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and the area’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are working towards a joint Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy.

The strategy would enable a joint approach to the key emotional and mental health priorities of children and young people.

It aims to:

  • Identify and support children and young people who need help, enabling them to realise their potential.
  • Support those with enduring mental health conditions to live their lives fully.
  • Foster wellbeing and resilience in children and young people by developing skills in frontline practitioners to support early intervention and prevention.

It is hoped that the strategy – which will have separate action plans to ensure issues that are unique to each area are adequately targeted – will be launched in October.

A report will go before the city council’s cabinet at a meeting next Tuesday (July 24).

City council leader Councillor Ann James, the authority’s cabinet lead for health and social care, said: “Tackling mental health issues in young people is hugely important and we want to make sure they have access to the support they need, in order to have the resilience to overcome life's challenges.

“Co-ordinating the support available locally is a really positive step forward, ensuring that all health partners are working closely together to address the mental health and wellbeing needs of all children and young people.

“Our aim is to make sure there is a continuous provision of support – from prevention and early identification, to high quality, joined-up, specialist services for those who need it. We want more children and young people to have access to services where they live, with a stronger emphasis on supporting those in early years and the most vulnerable. This will also ensure better links with education, social care and health.

“While the strategy will be joint, we will make sure the funding identified for Stoke-on-Trent will be used to support children living in the city.”

Dr Waheed Abassi, clinical director of the Mental Health and Specialist Group for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs, said: “It is clearly important that we should make every effort to help children and young people who have a mental health problem.

“We should remember that one in four people of all ages struggle with mental health, and many can trace their problems to childhood. By helping young people now we are also helping the adults of the future.”

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “With one in four people experiencing mental health issues at some point in their life and 50 per cent of lifetime mental illness arising by age 14, it is important that we support children and young people to get the right help when they need it.

“This strategy looks how we can best support children and young people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent at the earliest opportunity as well as providing appropriate support to those who need it most.”

For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232265.