It's not uncommon for children and young people to experience emotional and mental health difficulties, so in Shropshire we've developed a programme to support professionals and volunteers in developing their knowledge and skills in this area.
Supporting schools, professionals and volunteers to promote children’s emotional health and wellbeing and developing resilience is the core aim of the TaMHS programme, which started as a pilot programme in 2009. It uses a universal population-based approach and some targeted intervention support for children and young people.
The programme adopts a whole service approach with the following key objectives:
- Increase awareness of mental health/mental ill-health
- Develop a common language that expresses thoughts and feelings
- Promote and develop strategies to support mental health, build confidence, self-esteem and resilience
- Improve communication and consultation with specialist services such as BEE U
It also develops supportive relationships with key groups of professionals working with children and young people to:
- Ensure effective signposting to other agencies and resources to ensure a continuity of sharing best practice and learning
- Support schools and settings to develop to achieve positive mental health outcomes
- Provide training and support for schools, professionals and volunteers to deliver targeted intervention support programmes to children and young people
- Embedding the necessary pathways and supporting information into training sessions
Schools, professionals and volunteers across all settings are invited to attend centrally based multi-agency core training on issues such as self-harm, suicide prevention, loss and bereavement, anxiety, managing emotions, building self-esteem and relaxation. The training aims to increase the local workforce knowledge base, enabling professionals and volunteers working with children and young people to recognise early signs and symptoms of need, provide practical examples of how to respond to the emotional needs of young people, and give tips and strategies on what to do and say following identification of need.
The more in-depth intervention-based training provides resources and clearly structured programmes that can be delivered to support a wide range of emotional needs. All of the training programmes that are delivered are evidence based, either nationally or internationally, and supported by high-quality resources.
This work is supported by multi-agency collaborative working, with input from educational psychologists, primary mental health workers, school nurses and targeted youth support. The ongoing development of skills and knowledge of our workforce through the TaMHS programme should ultimately reduce demand on early help, increasing universal provision as well as enabling schools, professionals and volunteers develop confidence and a common approach to support children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing, and support children with low level mental health issues.