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Children’s mental health in the spotlight at National Children and Adult Services Conference

22 November 2019

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Adult Care today addressed delegates at the National Children and Adult Services Conference to highlight the work Southwark Council is doing to revolutionise children’s mental health.

The National Children and Adult Services Conference is the leading national conference for those with responsibility for children and adult’s services to hear about the very latest thinking on key policy and improvement agendas.

Cllr Ali delivered the keynote speech to close the three day event in Bournemouth that highlighted the work the council and CCG have been doing since November 2018 when Southwark’s Health and Wellbeing Board unanimously agreed to a new pledge to ensure that 100 percent of children with diagnosable mental health conditions would receive relevant treatment by 2020.

In August 2019 Southwark’s CAMHS research policy development unit produced a report following fact finding visits to services in Birmingham, Camden and East Cheshire. Since then has also been a £2million fund dedicated to further developing the knowledge and expertise in  schools  and building their capacity to work with children and young people in school settings. Mental health first aid training is being offered to school staff with around 50 school representatives trained to date. The council is also supporting our CCG who have commissioned Kooth to create online networks to tackle stigma and ensure young people can access available resources.

Cllr Ali outlined the vision for a new open access centre that is focussed on prevention, aimed at young people, designed by young people, available at the point of need and a place where young people feel able and safe to attend.

Most recently, the council launched the Southwark Child and Adolescent Mental Health Commission to guide, support and evaluate the actions being taken in the borough to revolutionise and transform mental health support for children, young people and their families.

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Adult Care, said: “Mental health is largely something which has come into focus in the past few years as a big issue for children and young people. There are some truly shocking stats about children’s mental health, for example, one in ten children in the UK will experience a mental health difficulty at least once before age eleven.

“I don’t think anyone underestimates the challenge that we have set ourselves. No other local authority has tried to do this. It is important to highlight that this is not just about funding, we need to have a different conversation.  Like rejecting low targets and raising aspiration.
“In Southwark we are already encouraged; we are beginning to see what our offer will look like both in terms of practical delivery and the ethos that underpins it. Across the council and our partner organisations, there is real commitment to this goal. Here in Southwark we’re aiming for 100 percent because nothing less will do.”   

Page last updated: 22 November 2019

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