Plan to improve mental health services for young people in South Tyneside

  • A nine point plan aimed to help improve mental health services for young people in South Tyneside has been endorsed this week.

    From December to April a South Tyneside Council commission has worked to look at ways of improving the “mental health and emotional well-being” of young people up to the age of 19 in the area, reports the Shields Gazette. mentalhealth.jpg

    This follows research highlighting that 41% of primary school pupils are concerned about SAT exams and 16% have body image issues. This evidence was collected from GPs, public health bosses, education officials and representatives of young people themselves.

    The biggest issue identified was the length of time children were waiting to access mental health services.

    In October 2014, of the young people that had been seen, 60 per cent had waited at least 12 weeks before treatment.

    Coun Joan Atkinson, the council’s lead member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “Having good mental health and emotional wellbeing is vital to enable our young people to achieve their full potential in life. Therefore, it is crucial to build emotional resilience from an early age. We will be undertaking a full assessment of the needs of our young people in relation to emotional health and wellbeing, working closely with young people and partner organisations within the NHS, education, social care and Third Sector. This will ensure that emerging issues, including self-harm and the use of social media, can be examined in more detail and action taken appropriately.”

    The nine recommendations are:

     •The director of public health to launch mental health project to address issues around self-harm and social media.

    •Address the issue of waiting times for access to mental health services.

    •Keeping tabs on number of referrals to services.

    •Training programmes for GPs, school governors, teachers and social workers.

    •Investment to ensure waiting times are reduced from 12 to six weeks.

    •Clinical Commissioning Group to offer more support to young people.

    •More mental health information in GP surgeries, libraries and youth clubs.

    •Education programmes in schools.

    •Continued consultation with Youth Parliament.

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