COVID 19 has played a factor in significantly impacting on the mental health of children and young people. Recognising this as an issue for children and young people in West Sussex, the council has dedicated additional resources to support young people at this critical time.
The move follows cross-party support to prioritise mental health in a motion backed by all county councillors at Full Council recently.
The support involves working with our partners, the NHS, community groups, district council, and parents, and includes the following:
• Mental Health First Aid support in schools
• Drop-in services and youth worker sessions in schools
• Online mentoring courses to support children and young people
• Online courses to support parents and carers in developing tools to help children manage their feelings and mental health
• An LGBTQU+ support pilot project
Jacquie Russell, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We know from what our communities tell us that the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of our children and young people, their families and teachers cannot be understated. Emotional wellbeing is a crucial part of every child’s development and ability to fulfil their potential. Demand on our services for young people in West Sussex has, however, increased during the pandemic, creating additional pressure on our communities.
“I am pleased therefore that we are able to allocate more dedicated resources at this critical time to what I’m sure will be a much-needed and welcome package of support, one that brings partners together to respond to this need, continues our work of prioritising health and wellbeing, and puts the voice of the child at the heart of all we do.”
Lucy Butler, Executive Director of Children, Young People and Learning, said: “The emotional wellbeing and mental health of our children and young people is an issue very close to my heart, and one of real concern to us all in West Sussex County Council, as well as to our partners in other local authorities, health, and other agencies. It requires a co-ordinated response, and I’m confident this action over the next few months will help us to meet our joint aims of improving the outcomes for children and young people of all ages in West Sussex and keeping them safe.
“To any young person who is struggling with their emotional wellbeing or mental health, please know there is always someone who cares and who wants to listen. Whether you are a friend, parent, carer or teacher, I appreciate any help you can provide in supporting children in need of extra support or someone to listen to them. I would especially like to thank all teachers and education staff in West Sussex, who play a hugely important role in this regard.”
Information and resources available to support you and your mental health:
• Youth Emotional Support can help with anything that may be worrying you, such as anxiety, relationships and self-esteem. It’s free and available to 11 to 18-year-olds. Search: YourSpaceWestSussex on Instagram and WSYourSpace on Twitter. Email: email@example.com or call 033 022 26711
• The e-wellbeing website provides emotional health and wellbeing advice to young people and how to connect to support across Sussex.
• The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust website has a dedicated area with information for children and young people.
• For parents/carers supporting a young person: ‘Recipes 4 Wellbeing’ cards provide help and advice on a range of difficulties and what to look out for and when you should be concerned.
• Young Minds is UK’s mental health charity for children and young people and includes lots of information, resource and advice for children, young people and their families.
• Further information about summer wellbeing events supporting young people and parents in Horsham is available on the Horsham District Council website