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Perinatal mental health services are patchyThe Guardian reports that an unpublished report, commissioned by Health Education England, has found that in many areas of England specialist perinatal mental health services are patchy or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

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.

 

Suicide in England and Wales increasing among young people

The Guardian reports on figures that show the overall the number of deaths by suicide among those age 10 to 19 in England and Wales has increased by 24 per cent from 148 deaths in 2013/14 to 184 tickets in 2015/16. The number of deaths by suicide in the same age category increased by 107 per cent from 2013/14 to 2015/16 in London itself.

The Brent Centre for Young People in north London under the 2000 Freedom of Information Act requested the information from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  The centre called for more investment in mental health services and education to prevent a “needless waste of young lives”.

Dr Maxim de Sauma, the chief executive of the centre, which supports more than 600 young people with mental health problems each year, said: “When young people with crippling or disabling mental health conditions are not given the support they need, it wastes lives.”

Read the full article here.

Thousands of older teenagers facing serious risks because of a “cliff edge” in support

Thousands of older teenagers facing serious risks because of a “cliff edge” in support

Tens of thousands of older teenagers facing serious risks including child sexual exploitation and mental health issues are missing out on vital support because of a “cliff edge” in support, The Children’s Society has warned.  They said that because there is no statutory requirement for councils to support children in need when they turn 18 they are often left without any help even though they remain vulnerable.

It said that there are currently around 58,000 children and young people aged 16 to 17 designated as children in need, who are in need of support but fall below the threshold for care proceedings.

However, the charity’s report Crumbling Futures found that just three per cent of closed cases involving 16- and 17-year-old children in need are transferred to adult services for support.  Key areas of support, that drop off when they reach 18, cover issues such as child sexual exploitation (CSE), mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

The report states:

“Issues that young people referred to children’s services as 16- and 17-year-olds experience include domestic violence, mental ill health, drug or alcohol abuse and a risk of CSE, and often a combination of these issues”.

 

“In just over 50 per cent of cases of 16- and 17-year-olds referred to children’s services for support, these issues are deemed serious enough by local authorities and young people are assessed as ‘children in need’, recognising that without support from services the child’s health and development may be compromised.”

 

“Unfortunately, for many of these children the issues they struggle with are not going to improve or get resolved once they reach adulthood.”

The Children’s Society has called on government to broaden its review of children in need, which launched earlier this month, to include a focus on improving support into adulthood:

“While the review is focusing on improving how well children in need do in education, the charity wants it to look at all aspects of their lives where help is falling short”.

Other recommendations include ensuring that children in need and child protection plans for 16- and 17-year-olds last until the age of 18.  The charity’s report found that four in 10 child in need plans for the age group last for less than three months.

Councils should also be required to plan for young people’s transition from children’s services to adult services and take into account the possibility that support may be needed up to the age of 25.

Children’s Society chief executive Matthew Reed said:

“Approaching adulthood can be a difficult, awkward, time for many teenagers, but it can be even tougher if young people don’t get the help they need to deal with serious issues in their lives”

 

“Help for vulnerable 16- and 17-year-olds who are not in care too often falls short then disappears from the age of 18 as they continue to struggle with issues including mental health, sexual exploitation, poverty and homelessness.

 

“The Children’s Society wants to see better support for children in need as they prepare for adulthood and a comprehensive package of help after they turn 18 – with councils given the additional money they need to deliver this.

 

“Only then will more young people get the vital support they need to ensure problems arising from their childhood are addressed and do not blight their chances of thriving in the future.”

Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry:

Prince William has a stark warning about the stigma surrounding mental health

Prince William has spoken out about his desire to “normalise” the “great taboo” of mental health in a powerful speech.

He said that until recently, people with anxiety were considered to be “weak,” and those who were struggling to cope were deemed to be “failing.”:

“Successful, strong people don’t suffer like that, do they.  But of course – we all do. It’s just that few of us speak about it”

He said that his interest in mental health began with his work as an Air Ambulance pilot.

“It was suicide, a subject that is so often hidden. The suicide rate among young men in this country is an appalling stain on our society.  Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 40 in this country. Not cancer, not knife crime, not road deaths – suicide.”

The prince said if any one of the aforementioned issues caused so many deaths, there would be a “national outcry.”

“But there has only ever been silence. And this has to stop. This silence is killing good people,” the prince said.

The prince said that in his work as in Search and Rescue and as an Air Ambulance pilot, he has been encouraged — along with his colleagues — to admit when they feel “overwhelmed or unable to cope”.

“This should be the norm,” he said.

Girl Guides are getting a new badge for talking about mental health

Girl Guides are getting a new badge for talking about mental health

Girlguiding has a long track record in the UK when it comes to teaching girls and young women useful skills ranging from camping and personal safety to science, first aid, cookery and crafts. Once Girl Guides have a new skill under their belt, they earn badges which can be sewn onto clothing or a camp blanket

Now, Girl Guides will have a new badge to earn. Girlguiding has launched a new badge programme to give girls an opportunity to talk about their mental wellbeing and resilience

 

The new programme, called Think Resilient, was created following requests from Girl Guides with the aim of breaking down the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health and wellbeing and to encourage more open and supportive conversations.

Young women in guiding aged between 14 and 25 who are trained to talk to their peers and younger girls about things like body confidence and healthy relationships — called ‘peer educators’ — will manage the programme.

Girl Guides will take part in sessions designed to teach girls about resilience and techniques for positive thinking, as well as helping them identify their support networks. Peer educators will also use interactive activities to help girls find positive ways of dealing with pressures and challenges in their lives.

Activities include learning self-calming techniques and responding to “agony aunt” letters (notes modeled after advice columnists) by breaking problems down into small, solvable steps.

The move comes after Girlguiding research in 2015 found that 82% of girls aged 11 to 21 feel that adults don’t recognise the pressure that young people are under, and 66% of girls aged 17 to 21 feel that mental health is awkward to talk about. The research was based on a survey of 1,574 respondents.

According to mental health charity Young Minds, one in 10 children and young people aged between 5 and 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression.

Girlguiding’s chief guide, Gill Slocombe, said in a statement:

“Girlguiding listens to girls and we’ve created this inspiring new resource as a direct response to what girls told us they need.  I’m very proud of the young women in guiding involved in developing this programme that will have such a hugely positive impact on thousands of their peers across the UK.”

Primary school pupils driven to suicide, survey reveals

Primary school pupils driven to suicide, survey reveals

Primary school children are attempting suicide because of exam pressures, too much homework and  cyber bulling, teachers have revealed as a new survey warned suicidal thoughts among pupils are ‘out of control’.

One in five teaching staff say pupils have attempted suicide while nearly half of those surveyed said students in their school have self-harmed due to stress, a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) found.

Teachers blamed growing pressures from testing, homework, family issues, cyber bullying and a growing need to appear popular.

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.