Steps to improve mental health services in Hartlepool hailed as ‘fundamental to people’s life chances’

The next steps to improve mental health services in Hartlepool have been hailed as ‘fundamental to people’s life chances’.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 5:45 pm
Stock picture from Pixabay

Hartlepool’s Health and Wellbeing Board has been told of actions in place to improve support for children and young people’s mental health in the town.

It comes after a series of three workshops were held during June and July featuring staff from numerous agencies and identified issues with the current offer, as well as setting out targets for the feature.

Jo Heaney, head of commissioning and strategy for NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG, highlighted three schemes already underway to improve support for young people.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Through NHS England Waiting List initiative money, Hartlepool & Stockton CCG have worked with Tees, Esk & Wear Valley (TEWV) to purchase the online digital platform, Kooth.

Kooth provides on line advice and counselling from trained psychologists to young people aged 11-19.

Within quarter one of this year, 34 children and young people living in Hartlepool accessed the online service.

80% of those accessing were female and 60% of those accessing this provision did so on evenings and weekends.

Hartlepool and Stockton on Tees localities have also successfully bid to be part of the Department for Education’s Trailblazer pilot.

Work is already underway for the project which will see Mental Health Support Teams being present in 20 schools in the area from September 2020.

These workers will be able to work with children and young people who are displaying low to moderate level needs – predominantly around anxiety and low mood, with work on a 1:1 basis and in group settings.

Finally Hartlepool is being included in the roll out of the Anna Freud School Link Programme.

The remit of the programme is to improve relationships between schools and specialist mental health services and allow for ‘open and frank’ discussions from both sides.

Coun Stephen Thomas said it was pleasing to see issues which had been flagged up being looked at in the new schemes.

He said: “Those issues that were picked up when mapping the current system, many of them are being picked up in those initiatives going forward.

“I think things like communication, routes into services, early intervention, prevention are all things that have come up very clearly with work the authority and Healthwatch have done in the recent past.

“The additional things around the communication model should give us a really good platform going forward.

“What we’re talking about here is so fundamental to equality it’s so fundamental to individual life chances going forward.

“The work that has been proposed here and happening here contributes massively to try and overcome some of those inequalities that people face.”