Cash injection set to benefit young people’s mental health

Sixty new volunteers will be recruited to support and improve the emotional wellbeing of young people with mental health needs, thanks to £65,000 of funding.

The funding has been awarded to Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and Mind, following a successful bid to the Health Education England Children and Young People’s Mental Health Innovation Fund.

It will be used to establish a volunteer scheme to recruit, train and support adults to work with young people who have been referred to Pennine Care’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Up to 60 new adult mentors will be recruited to provide emotional wellbeing support and help young people to manage and look after their own mental health, before, during and after their treatment with CAMHS, by being someone they can talk to.

Similar projects have already been successfully piloted within CAMHS in Trafford and Mind in Oldham, Tameside and Glossop, and this partnership between a healthcare trust and charity means working methods and expertise can be shared.

Dr John Stancombe, Consultant Clinical Psychologist with Pennine Care, said: “Some young people who access CAMHS have complex histories and sometimes find it difficult to keep up the positive changes they make to their emotional wellbeing. This can lead to their symptoms coming back or re-referral to CAMHS in times of stress.

“We asked young people what other support they’d like to see available and they highlighted the need for better access to one-to-one support, for them to be listened to, have someone to talk to and to be supported in maintaining the positive changes they make around emotional health and wellbeing issues - which is what the mentors will bring.”

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of Education and Quality at Health Education England, added: “We are excited by this initiative as it will provide an ideal opportunity to introduce and enhance services to transform the lives of children and young people.

“This additional funding means that children, young people and their families can get the tailored support they need through the delivery of improved, more accessible mental health and wellbeing services to ensure they are not only well-supported, but thrive, which will transform the care and lives of many across the country.”

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, said: “Schemes such as this represent another step in fulfilling our promise to establish genuine parity between mental and physical health. We want to end the taboo around mental health – boosting the workforce and funding local innovations such as training adult mentors to help maintain the positive decisions young people make is the best way to help more young people than ever before.”

Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust provides CAMHS community services in Bury; Oldham; Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale; Tameside and Glossop; Stockport; and Trafford.

There are also two inpatient units, Hope and Horizon, based in Bury, which help young people who need a period of more intensive support.