A new approach to health care for children and young adults in Hartlepool will put the focus on prevention rather than cure, councillors were told.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s children’s services committee heard moves were under way to overhaul children and adolescent mental health services to establish ‘a whole system approach focusing on prevention of mental ill-health, early intervention and recovery’.
The council’s principal educational psychologist Jacqui Braithiwaite told the committee the move should also ensure those young people who needed more serious and sustained care were able to get the help they needed more quickly and not be left on a waiting list for weeks.
“One of the key issues is that if you are more aware of the preventative side, then hopefully you reduce the numbers in the system,” she said.
“By intervening earlier, you reduce the numbers, so the waiting lists should get less because there should be less young people going through and that means they can access services at the right time.”
The aim was to bring together everyone working with young people to provide a comprehensive service.
She added: “We have got to get serious about prevention. This is not just about schools. Schools can’t do it all. It is about partnership working.”
Co-opted committee member Julie Cordiner said: “If a child has a broken arm, a parent will take them to accident and emergency,” she said.
“If a child has a broken head or a broken heart, often the parent won’t know what to do.”