Pioneering new mental health scheme launches in Northumberland - two drop-in sessions scheduled for January 2020

Health chiefs are launching a new scheme to improve mental health support for children and young people in Northumberland.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 2:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 1:09 am
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As previously reported, NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is one of only 12 CCGs in the country to be awarded funding for the national Trailblazer pilot schemes focusing on support teams in schools and reducing waiting times.

The support teams, which are being trialled in Blyth and Hexham, aim to support children with mild to moderate mental-health needs, with the aim of making it easier to access help at an earlier stage, before problems develop to a higher level that might need support from secondary-care mental-health services.

The CCG is holding two events to launch the new teams, which have been named Be You by young people in Northumberland, with parents and carers welcome to attend either of the drop-in events.

The first is taking place on Thursday, January 23 at Headway Arts in Blyth and the second is at The Mart in Hexham on Thursday, January 30.

Both events will run from 12pm until 6pm and people can go at any time to find out more.

Helen Bowyer, children and young people’s operational commissioning manager at the CCG, said: “We know there is a real need to support our young people, at an early stage, before problems escalate into more serious issues which is why we are so pleased to be launching our new Be You mental health initiative.

“The aim of Be You is to make sure that when needed, children and young people have access to the right support at the right time and adopt new early intervention and prevention techniques to help build their resilience.”

The pilot, which is being delivered in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust; and Northumberland County Council is also working towards reducing waiting times.

By December this year, all of the county’s mental health services will be able to see children and young people within four weeks of referral.

“We have a clear and shared vision to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in the county and want young people to know it’s okay to ask for help and support when they need it,” Helen said.

“There is a real pressure on young people these days, for all sorts of reasons, and it is important we have this support network in place for them to thrive in every aspect of their lives.”

The CCG’s four week wait to treatment scheme has recently received praise from NHS England and NHS Improvement and is being hailed as a national example of best practice due to its culture, relationships and collaborative working.

Following a comprehensive audit, the scheme has demonstrated it is far exceeding those in many other areas and its waiting times are among some of the lowest in the country.

Helen added: “Although this audit has given us high praise, we know there are a number of recommendations which we still need to build upon. However, we feel we are in a strong position going forward.”