Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Number of admissions to hospital of girls under 18 after self-harming has nearly doubled: The Guardian reports that figures provided in response to a written question in the House of Lords, answered by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health Lord O’Shaughnessy, show that the number of admissions to hospital of girls under the age of 18 in England after self-harming has nearly doubled compared with 20 years ago. NHS Digital figures show that: there were 13,463 admissions of girls under the age of 18 in 2016/17 against 7,327 in 1997/98; the figure for admissions of boys who self-harmed rose from 2,236 in 1997/98 to 2,332 in 2016/17.

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuseThe University of Suffolk and the charity Survivors in Transition have published research looking at the impact of delayed disclosure and access to services and support for those who experienced sexual abuse in their childhood. Findings from in-depth interviews with 28 adult survivors of child sexual abuse show that: the average time span from the start of abuse to disclosure was over 27.5 years; survivors reported that delayed disclosure resulted in complex issues related to the experience of abuse, which had a detrimental impact on their mental health; and poor experiences of disclosure had acted as barriers to future support services.

Perinatal mental health services are patchyThe Guardian reports that an unpublished report, commissioned by Health Education England, has found that in many areas of England specialist perinatal mental health services are patchy or non-existent.

Answering parents commonly asked online safety questionsChildnet has written a blog answering some of the questions parents and carers most frequently ask about online safety. Topic covered include: teenagers spending too much time online; under 13s joining social networking sites; and playing games that have an older age rating.

Viewing child abuse imagesThe Telegraph reports that the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland, has said that sex offenders who download or share images of child abuse should be dealt with by the court as harshly as those who abuse children themselves. The article also reports that the government is planning to bring child pornography offences under the “unduly lenient sentence” scheme, which enables sentences to be reviewed by the Court of Appeal.

 

Children and young people’s mental health: focus group research

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in England has published findings from focus group research carried out to understand the views of children and young people, parents and carers, and professionals on the proposals in ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision: a green paper’.

The student insight report, carried out by Young Minds, looks at the views of 55 young people aged 11-18 across England. Findings show that they were broadly in favour of the core three proposals but felt that there needed to be an additional focus within the new approach around causes of ill mental health amongst young people.

Youth Access looked at the views of 11-15 year olds and 16-25 year olds. Findings include: participants were generally positive about the proposals; they had concerns that the needs of many groups of young people would not be met in its current form including those not willing or able to access support in a school setting; many felt that the green paper did not go far enough in acknowledging some of the root causes of young people’s mental health issues.

The National Children’s Bureau reported on the views of over 80 professionals and parents. Findings include: the green paper proposals were broadly welcomed but that further consideration should be given to ensuring children in the early years develop well emotionally and are prepared for the transition into school; and better continuity of care for young people with mental health conditions transitioning to adult services.

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Teacher say children face mental health epidemic

Teenage mental health charity stem4 have released findings from a survey of teachers looking at children and young people’s mental health issues in schools.

Findings from an online survey of 300 teachers working in primary and secondary schools , and further education colleges in the UK show that:

  • 78% of teachers said that at least one of their pupils has experienced a mental health issue over the past year;
  • 14% said that at least one of their pupils has experienced suicidal thoughts and behaviours over the past year;
  • 66% reported a pupil has suffered anxiety, and
  • 45% have witnessed a student with depression
  • 30% engaged with a pupil who had an eating disorder
  • 28% supported a pupil with self-harm
  • 10% reported a pupil who had an addiction.

Yet the teachers told the survey that just under half (46%) of students are unable to access the mental health services they need to make a recovery, with only one in five (19%) saying all these students were getting the treatment they needed. One in five (22%) say pupils needing specialist treatment typically had to wait more than five months for an appointment, and more than a third (36%) had feared at some point that a pupil would come to harm while waiting for treatment.

Nearly one in ten (9%) described their school’s mental health provision as ‘non-existent’, with 30% saying it was inadequate or very inadequate. Four in ten (40%) of the state school teachers surveyed say the need for mental health services has increased over the past year. Over half (52%) of all respondents believed family difficulties were contributing to their students’ problems while other common causes were exam stress and the emotional impact of bullying, both cited by 41%.

For more information read their full news release.

Do distressed or troubled children need therapy?

Earlier this week I read a fascinating article, We Need to Talk About Children’s Mental Health – and the Elephants in the Room, by Elizabeth Gregory who is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working with children and families.

In the article she argues that:

the dominant narrative in today’s society is that ‘distressed’ or ‘troubled’ children need ‘therapy’ to fix their problems. This article examines what this belief may be rooted in; and how potentially damaging it is for children; and for society as a whole. It will refer to a number of ‘elephants in the room’, by way of drawing attention to issues we really need to start talking about if we are to stem the tide and begin to address the mental health of future generations.

Gregory goes on to explain a number of ‘elephants in the room’ and in conclusion argues that instead of therapy, professionals who work with children and families need to return to some of the basics:

Helping parents to talk to their children, read to their children, play with their children, show warmth to their children, listen to their children, believe in their children, give hope to their children – all in a context of doing the same for the parents themselves who didn’t receive it in their own childhoods, is far more powerful than any therapy. This doesn’t happen quickly – again it is about being alongside families in their communities and facilitating them to do things differently by providing the most basic of resources, support, consistency and encouragement.

Go check out the full article.

 

Have your say on Ashurst Hospital vision

Ashurst Hospital in the New Forest needs a new lease of life and there is an exciting opportunity to redevelop facilities on the site to make it modern, welcoming and fit for purpose, now and in the future.

Working with our local healthcare partners, West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group has started to build a vision. We want to create a child and family friendly Health Centre which focuses on providing a range of services for our children, young people and families living in the New Forest and Totton and Waterside areas.

The New Forest Birth Centre, CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and Hearing Screening are already based at Ashurst Hospital and there is room to turn our vision into a reality so we want to explore this opportunity further.

There are, of course, some restrictions on what can be provided in a local community health facility but your thoughts and ideas will help us to build a vision for the future and identify what health services and facilities for children, young people and families are important to you.

Please help us by answering this short survey: 6Ashurst Hospital Survey

Every school should have a therapist

Lord Layard also wants government to assess how much value schools add to pupils’ happiness.
Every school should have an on-site therapist, according to one of the country’s leading economists and wellbeing experts.
Lord Layard, director of the wellbeing programme at the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance, has also called for all schools to employ a senior teacher in charge of mental health.

He wants child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) to provide therapeutic services in schools. “Extra money for child mental health should be devoted to building a school-based wing of Camhs,” he said.

Lord Layard said this should include trained therapists in schools. “I would use the word ‘therapist’, rather than ‘counsellor’,” he said.

He suggested that the government should assess how much value schools add to pupils’ happiness. “If the only thing measured is exams, we will never get anything else given equal importance to that,” he told a conference on wellbeing and mental health in education, organised by the International Positive Education Network.

“Happiness and wellbeing should be something that the school uses, to see how well it’s doing. How well does a school do in changing the happiness of its children?

“Eventually…every school will have a senior teacher in charge of mental health.”

Speaking at the same conference on Friday, Mario Piacentini, of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), spoke about the organisation’s new ranking of developed countries by pupils’ levels of happiness.

“The number-one driver of dissatisfaction is anxiety,” Dr Piacentini said. “More than one in two students in the OECD worries excessively about the difficulty of exams. They get very tense, even if they perceive they’re well-prepared for the exam.”

But, he added, teachers are able to allay this anxiety to some degree.

“Whenever students feel support from their teachers – if the teacher adapts the lesson for the class’s skills and knowledge – there is a reduction in anxiety.

“But, if there are problems of communication with teachers, the level of anxiety jumps up.”

Future in Mind – Children’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health priorities for Hampshire

 

Future in mind

Future in Mind, was published in March 2015 by the government to establish priorities for Children and Young People’s Mental Health. In addition the government committed to spend an additional £1.25bn over five years on Children and Young People’s Mental Health. CCGs have had to submit transformation plans to NHS England, and North East Hampshire & Farnham CCG has led on the development of plans on behalf of the five Hampshire CCGs.

Priority areas for investment:

  • commission earlier intervention services through evidenced based counselling / psychological support
  • increased access to earlier intervention services through evidenced based parenting programmes
  • improve access and support for young people who have been sexually abused and/or exploited
  • develop Eating Disorder Service to ensure compliance with new standards
  • reduce waiting times for young people waiting for an intervention from CAMHS
  • improved access to technological solutions that support young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.

£2.36m has been allocated across the five Hampshire CCGs. A board paper for West Hampshire CCG gives a breakdown of how this is being split between the CCGs.  Access the board paper here.

West Hampshire CCG secures funding for mental health training in schools

West Hampshire CCG

West Hampshire CCG’s application to be part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Schools Link Pilot Scheme has been successful. This pilot aims to raise awareness and knowledge of mental health issues with staff at schools, as well as improve the NHS’s understanding of specific mental health issues within local schools. Schools taking part in the pilot will receive two days of training by March 2016. It is hoped the training will also help support effective working between local schools and Hampshire’s CAMHS. The training will support schools to identify and intervene with mental health problems experienced by children and young people.

CAMHS will receive £50,000 to support the pilot and the learning will be shared across Hampshire. Although the details are being finalised, it is anticipated this pilot will launch with ten schools in the New Forest. The programme is jointly supported between NHS England and Department for Education.

Nationally over 80 CCGs applied to secure funding, with 15 CCGs being successful, including West Hampshire CCG.

Support for children’s mental health must move into the 21st century

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The Children’s Commissioner for England says most children are looking to the internet for information about mental health issues. She has called for young people’s mental health websites to carry a ‘health warning’ with some sort of kite mark system to guarantee the quality of the information given, but she says more help and counselling should be provided in schools and youth clubs.

Young people want trustworthy information about mental health issues and also more accessible drop-in mental health support. Research found that young people are more likely to seek help about mental health issues from a friend (50%) than a parent (43%), mental health professional (40%) or doctor (40%). Only 18% would turn to their school nurse.

A new animated guide to mental health care care in England was launched ahead of World Mental Health Day by the Kings Fund; exploring the mental health services and how they work alongside other health and public services.

[youtube id=”2Ilb9UhrGe0″ width=”580″ height=”337″]

Getting stuck between social care and CAMHS

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The UK has a world-class public sector, education is good, and the NHS is outstanding. But one area that consistently seems to let young people down is those who get stuck in-between social care and Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

 

In our austerity climate there have been cuts to both children’s social and the CAMHS service. In addition both services are locally using more agency staff to cover the current gaps they have within their teams. This certainly provides a lack of consistency for young people and their families, but I believe that the problem is not solved by more money, and capacity staffing. Simply pouring additional resource into a dysfunctional system would not automatically produce the best results for our vulnerable children and young people. Instead it is time to consider a radical overhaul of how, when and by whom child protection and statutory mental health services are provided.

 

Too often when a child is suspected of having mental health concerns such as depression, suicide, ADHD, on the ASD spectrum then social care, often believe it is the responsibility of CAMHS to take the lead with the family. Yet CAMHS, often rightly, will point out that whilst the mental health concerns has a significant impact there are other major factors at play in the life of the young person. Instead of two agencies working together to support a young person and their family they spend their time blaming cuts on the lack of staff and resources and spend meetings with other professionals passing the buck as to why they can not help the young person.

 

All this does is lead to a situation where a young person who is on the border of a Tier 2 to 3 threshold is propelled to the top end of Tier 3 if not into Tier 4 as no agency takes responsibility to support and invest in the young person and their family.

 

I can think of several families that I’ve worked with for whom this tension between social care and CAMHS has actually worsened the situation, and certainly not helped the young person.

 

I sit in meetings where I want to stop and shout: “Enough is enough!” Surely we can find a way to do something between us to support this young person and their family.

 

As is often the case though in a large organisation the staff at the meetings don’t have the power to be able to change the situation – what we need is county managers and health commissioners working together for the benefit of young people and their families and enabling their staff to do the same.