The NSPCC’s Nottingham Childline service has teamed up with the city council’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in a pioneering new project to help support children and young people with mental health issues.
Childline counsellors will provide extra support to young people aged between 11 and 18 after their support work with CAMHS has come to an end.
The ‘Next Steps’ pilot project is designed for children and young people who have been supported by CAMHS but who need more help with their ‘next steps’ towards improving their mental health and wellbeing.
A young person is referred to a team of three specially-trained Nottingham-based Childline counsellors and are offered 10 counselling sessions over 10 weeks.
Nottingham Childline service manager Sabrina Taylor said: “Young people facing mental health issues can often feel like they are alone but we want them to know they never have to suffer in silence and that support is there.
“The work done by CAMHS can be life-saving and so we’re delighted to be able to help them support children. Our Childline counsellors will be able to help young people move forward and reach a point in their lives where they are healthier and in a better place.
“It’s so important children know that help doesn’t have to end after their CAMHS treatment finishes.
“That message is especially important as Children’s Mental Health Week launches this week, highlighting children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. Childline is there to help anyone referred to us.”
Anna Masding, CAMHS Service Manager at Nottingham City Council, said: “We asked our Service User Group ‘At what part of the pathway would this support be most helpful?’ And they told us that sometimes when CAMHS ends, they aren’t always quite ready for this.
“So this is one idea to help ‘bridge the gap’ to empower young people to fully achieve their goals, through agreed and regular telephone sessions with a designated and trained Childline Practitioner.”
Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Years and Early Intervention, said “I am delighted that Childline have chosen Nottingham City to pilot this partnership model with CAMHS. We have worked with the NPSCC on a number of occasions to offer children and their families additional support, with good results.
“Supporting children and young people with mental and emotional health needs is extremely important to Nottingham City Council as we know that additional support when a young person feels vulnerable can make a lifelong difference.”
The project announcement comes after the NSPCC recently revealed its Nottingham Childline service carried out 10,115 counselling sessions on issues such as mental and emotional health, self-harm and suicidal thoughts last year. Nationally, the NSPCC service carried out 101,454 counselling sessions on mental health in 2016/17 – an increase of 12 percent on the previous year.
Children across the UK in need of help can always contact the service directly by calling 0800 1111 or through its website www.childline.org.uk.
The project highlights the importance of being there for children and helping them in their most difficult moments. The NSPCC’s round-the-clock Childline service runs day and night and is always available to any child or young person in need of help.
But the service can currently only answer three out of every four contacts. To help Childline answer that fourth contact, sign up to become a volunteer Childline counsellor by visiting www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/volunteering-nspcc-childline.
Members of the public can also support the service by signing the NSPCC’s petition to Government asking for Childline to become a more central part of its new legislative proposals on children’s mental health and for funding to be increased accordingly.