Mental health support for children: Calderdale Council urged to adopt 11 suggestions to help kids with mental health struggles

Children in Calderdale feel under more pressure than before and their mental health has worsened through the pandemic, according to a review seeking some solutions.
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Concerned cross-party councillors have made 11 recommendations they hope will improve support young people, including where they can get help and advice.

Early intervention is crucial, they say.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet is now being asked to adopt recommendations made by the scrutiny review group.

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Coun Diana TremayneCoun Diana Tremayne
Coun Diana Tremayne

This review was initiated after reports being presented to Calderdale’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Board which indicated that the primary concern of children and young people across Calderdale was their emotional wellbeing.

Review group lead, Coun Diana Tremayne said as well as partners including schools, the voluntary sector, NHS and mental health advice and support Calderdale website Open Minds, they had spoken to children themselves about their concerns.

Potential solutions also had to consider financial restrains services were under in making eleven recommendations drawn up by cross-party councillors.

“What we have seen very clearly are the challenges that we face.

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“What has been really important in the constraints on services.

“So we wanted to come up with recommendations that are manageable and achievable, and we think we have done that,” said Coun Tremayne (Lab, Todmorden).

The report identifies three key themes – connectivity, empowerment and access.

A key recommendation is a holistic approach with partners sharing their knowledge, identifying unmet need and establishing good practice in responding to problems when they arose, without need for separate multiple referrals to a range of agencies, said Coun Tremayne.

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This would include face-to-face and virtual networking opportunities for partners in education and youth provision, with greater support for trusted adults who should be empowered to support the young people.

Settings should be familiar to the young people needing support, and in their own communities.

The council should help arrange a conference at the start of the next academic year to address key issues, is another recommendation, and strategies to embed trauma-informed and outcome-based approaches, with a focus on the individual.

Coun Dot Foster (Lab, Sowerby Bridge) liked proposals for a single point of access.

“You shouldn’t have to fill in umpteen different forms with the same information to try and get your child the help they need,” she said.

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