Helen Capstick, clinical lead, Bradford and Craven trailblazer mental health support teamBradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust is backing Children’s Mental Health Week – 5-11 February 2024. This year’s theme is ‘My Voice Matters’ to empower, equip and give a voice to all children and young people in the UK.

The week is part of children’s mental health charity Place2Be’s national campaign, which aims to support children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Mental Health Support teams (MHST)  are working alongside the  Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service, (CAMHS). They support young people in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven experiencing emotional and mental health issues. They will be reaching out to young people during the week to encourage them to use their voice.

Around half of all mental health illnesses begin by the age of 14. Preventing and identifying mental health issues as early as possible is crucial to effective treatment and recovery. To support this, the Trust has rolled out Mental Health Support teams in schools, which is a national strategy initiative. The teams support schools to adopt a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing and have trained groups of students to become Wellbeing Champions. They offer peer support as well as signposting, organising events and being the voice for the wellbeing of students in their education setting.

A celebration event will take place at Skipton Girls High School, led by Mental Health Support teams, to recognise the achievements and the voice of Wellbeing Champions. Young people from schools and colleges across the district will attend the event.

Elaborating further, Helen Capstick, clinical lead, from the Trust’s Bradford and Craven trailblazer mental health support team said: “The celebration event mirrors the theme of Children’s Mental Health Week. We’ve asked students to create a presentation on how each school or college has been able to promote their students voice and wellbeing. During the day, schools and colleges will also share ideas and plan ways to make sure their students voices are heard.”

Bob Collins, Service Manager of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service added: “We’re delighted to get behind Children’s Mental Health Week and encourage children and young people to find their voice. We’ve been working to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in schools by getting young people to talk openly about mental health. The Trust’s Mental Health Champions in Schools project enables primary mental health workers to work alongside educational psychologists to create a network of champions across the schools in Bradford and Craven.  Many schools have signed up to the project where senior members of teaching staff are offered additional training about emotional health and wellbeing.  This has led to young people feeling increasingly more comfortable accessing help and looking at mental health as something not to be ashamed of.”

To find out more about the Trust’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health service, visit: www.bdct.nhs.uk/services/child-adolescent-mental-health-camhs/

Visit Healthy Minds website to find mental health information, advice and support for people of all ages in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven.