South West London Health and Care Partnership have secured £1.85m of trailblazer funding, which will be used to create mental health support teams in Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth.
The funding will give almost 25,000 children and young people extra support with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Mental health support teams will work with schools, children and young people and their parents with the aim of ensuring they are well equipped to have healthy and honest conversations about emotional wellbeing – as well as connecting them to local services.
Dr Andrew Murray, Merton GP, CCG Chair and lead on children and young people’s mental health said: “This trailblazer funding will accelerate our progress and increase the impact we can have on young people’s lives and help young people achieve their full potential.
“The trailblazer pilot supports wider plans by the South West London Health and Care Partnership to take action on children and young peoples’ mental health, bringing together schools, clinicians, parents and young people to improve services across all six boroughs.”
“We are already piloting a ‘whole school approach’ in every south west London borough – introducing new services, such as online peer support for young people, mental health first aid training for teachers and courses to empower parents to talk to their children about emotional wellbeing.”
Kelly Braund, Merton Council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Securing this funding is a real step in the right direction, and means that we can access the much needed resources to deliver pioneering mental health care to the Merton’s young people. In Merton, we are proud of our strong partnership work that means we can provide early intervention services by raising awareness, building resilience and helping young people to access the services they need when they first need it. I look forward to seeing the continuation of the brilliant work being done by a comprehensive range of services that work together to improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Merton’s young people.”
The trailblazer mental health support teams will offer both one to one support and group treatment sessions for children and young people and, where needed, provide referrals to specialist children and adolescent mental health services (CAHMS).
Initially, the extra funding will support the development of three teams as a pilot across Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth. However, the South West London Health and Care Partnership is also hoping for a future roll out of teams across Croydon, Richmond and Kingston – building on learning from the pilot.
New schemes and services are also being introduced across south west London, including online peer support for young people, mental health first aid training for teachers, courses to empower parents to talk to their children about emotional wellbeing, an improved single point of access for CAMHS and a directory of support services.
Dr Murray continued:
“We know that if we are to have an impact on adult mental health we have to start early and support children and young people and give them the skills to be resilient.
“We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to launch and test our enhanced mental health support teams, in addition to the work we are already doing across all of our boroughs to support children and young people. We’re aiming to expand the pilot across our other boroughs of Croydon, Kingston and Richmond, to ensure that we can give every young person the best chances in life.”
- Nationally, we know that 50% of all mental health problems are established by the age of 14, rising to 75% by age 24.
- One in ten children aged 5-16 has a diagnosable mental health condition, such as conduct disorder, anxiety disorder, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression.
- Merton has the second highest rate of child mental health admissions compared to comparative boroughs (122.7 per 100,000, equivalent to 56 admissions, 2014/15). This is the higher than the average for England (87.4 per 100,000) and London (94.2 per 100,000).
Mental health support teams will be made up of:
- A clinical psychologist
- An emotional wellbeing nurse or therapist (to provide group support for younger children)
- 4 Well-being practitioners
- A pathway co-ordinator