In the News today: The NSPCC is calling on the Government to shift the focus of children and young people’s mental health services towards early intervention

More than 5,000 children in Derbyshire have been referred to specialist NHS mental health services in the last two years, the NSPCC has revealed.

The NSPCC obtained new figures via a Freedom of Information request to NHS Trusts in England which found the equivalent of 150 children a day from across the country were rejected for treatment between 2015 and 2017.

In Derbyshire, a total of 2,673 cases were referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) between 2015 and 2016. Of those, 497 were not accepted for treatment.

Between 2016 and 2017, 2,358 cases in Derbyshire were referred to CAMHS and 376 of these were not accepted for treatment.

However, the information obtained by the NSPCC revealed that all of the cases in Derbyshire which were rejected by CAMHS were referred to other services.

The NSPCC is calling on the Government to shift the focus of children and young people’s mental health services towards early intervention, to ensure that young people’s mental health does not have to reach crisis point before they are able to get help.

On average, children in Derbyshire are waiting around six weeks, or 32 days, to see a specialist after their referral being accepted.

The findings follow news last month that the NSPCC’s Childline delivered a record number of counselling sessions to children reporting suicidal feelings in 2016/17. Mental and emotional health is now the most common reason for a child to contact Childline, with the service carrying out 63,622 counselling sessions in 2016/17.

NSPCC chief executive, said: “It is desperately sad to see so many young people facing distress around mental health issues being forced to wait months for assessment by CAMHS, many of whom are then rejected for treatment altogether. This risks leaving them in limbo while their condition potentially reaches crisis point.

“We recognise the hard work of mental health professionals in trying to help young people get their lives back on track. However, too many children who need help are struggling access support and treatment which can help them to recover. The Government’s upcoming Green Paper on mental health must urgently evaluate the early support systems available to young people to ensure that no child is left to suffer in silence.”

Link to full article here: http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/more-5000-derbyshire-children-referred-806965

In the News: Children and young people with mental health problems waiting up to 18 months before they get help, finds report.

Investigators find youngsters are facing ‘agonising waits’ for treatment.

The Government has been accused of “neglecting” children’s mental health after it emerged some youngsters are waiting more than a year to be treated.

A major review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of mental health services for young people has found that vulnerable children are facing “agonising waits” for treatment, with one young person who spoke to investigators waiting for 18 months.

During prolonged waits, children and young people are unable to access the support they need, causing their mental health to deteriorate further, with some starting to self-harm, become suicidal or drop out of school during the wait to receive support, the report found.

The findings also showed that even when children do access treatment, the services were not always adequate to respond to their needs, with more than a third (39 per cent) of specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) across the UK currently requiring improvement.

There is also regional variation in the estimated prevalence of mental health problems in children and young people, with an estimated 8 per cent of children aged 5 to 16 years old in the Thames Valley area suffering from a mental health condition, compared with 11 per cent in London, investigators found.

The report has prompted calls for the Government to ring-fence mental health budgets so that money reaches front line services and to set maximum waiting times.

Responding to the findings, Barbara Keeley MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health, said: “This report reveals the Tory Government’s abject failure of children and young people in urgent need of mental health treatment.

“It is a scandal that as a result of the Tories’ neglect of child and adolescent mental health over a third of services need to improve access, with some children having to wait as long as eighteen months to be treated.

“Labour will continue to call on the Tory Government to invest in and ring-fence mental health budgets as Labour pledged at the General Election, so that money reaches the underfunded services on the front line.”

Former Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb echoed her concerns, saying: “If the current Government had shown leadership in driving these changes and ensuring that funding was being spent where it was needed, we might have seen more progress.

“The Prime Minister makes all the right noises about improving mental health care, now she needs to translate these words into action. Children deserve better.”

The report comes as child mental health charities and campaigners warned that young people are not receiving adequate mental health provision.

Recent research by the Children’s Society’s found that 30,000 children were being turned away from mental health services every year and not receiving any support or treatment at all.

It also found that children missed 157,000 mental health appointments last year, with many missed appointments never followed up by health professionals to check that the children concerned were safe and well.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children’s Society, said in response to the CQC report: “Despite increased attention and investment, services remain fragmented and are increasingly overstretched, and too many children are suffering as a result.

 

Read the full article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mental-health-children-waiting-times-18-months-care-quality-commission-report-a8021941.html

In the news: The counsellors on the frontline of the student mental health crisis

I am walking through Nottingham’s Arboretum park on a bright cold afternoon with 10 other people, all of us in complete silence. At first I find the whole thing so awkward I have to suppress an embarrassed laugh. But as we make our wordless way through the dappled shade, I feel an atmosphere of calm and thoughtfulness envelop us like a protective cloak.

The others in my group are undergraduate students, chaplains and other staff of Nottingham Trent University (NTU), all taking part in a mindfulness walk, intended to bring some space and quiet reflection into students’ hectic lives. Guided by the chaplains (who speak occasionally), we pause as a group to consider questions in the booklets we have been handed: “who am I?”, “where am I going in my life?” and “what brings me a sense of excitement?” Left to our silence, we note down our answers. Stopping by a rubbish bin, we ask, “What rubbish am I carrying with me in my life?” We tear off our answers and throw them in the bin. It sounds silly, but weeks later I still feel lighter for casting off that scribble on a scrap of paper.

Back in the bustling City Campus of NTU, students and staff weave their way around each other, a mass of hoodies and headscarves, skullcaps and backwards caps, hipster beards and hi-tops. Posters advertise a programme of free yoga, craft classes and eating-disorder information sessions: my visit coincides with Wellbeing Week, designed to raise awareness of mental health and encourage students who need help to seek it. This is just one part of NTU’s strategy to meet a dramatic rise in the need for support.

Last month, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published a reportrevealing that nationally, the number of first-year students who disclose a mental health problem has risen fivefold in the past decade. A record number of students with mental health problems dropped out of university in 2015, the latest year for which figures are available. In the same year, 134 students killed themselves, the highest number on record. Similarly, the number of UK students seeking counselling has rocketed by 50% in the past five years, to more than 37,000, according to figures obtained by the Guardian. This trend is reflected at NTU: wellbeing services received 38% more referrals last year than in 2014/15.

There are many reasons mental health problems may arise at university. It is a time of transition: people are no longer living in the family home, but not yet fully independent either. Added to this, some might experience the big fish – small pond effect, where teenagers who are used to being recognised for their achievements find themselves in a more competitive yet more anonymous environment. Difficulties that have been repressed throughout school can bubble up when students leave their support network behind. As Glenn Baptiste, a mental health adviser at NTU says, “Sometimes it might look like it’s a problem that’s occurred within university, but that’s not always the case. If students come here with ongoing issues that they’ve not discussed, the university environment can make life difficult.”

Student Services manager Alison Bromberg says the most common mental health problems reported by NTU students are anxiety and depression. Bromberg can see how the challenges young people face today play their part in this rise – the burden of student debt, economic uncertainty, global political upheaval, apocalyptic climate change – “but,” she says, “I also think that a lot of work has happened and is still happening to reduce the stigma around discussing mental health and emotional needs. I think it’s making it more possible for people to come forward and ask for that support.”, global political upheaval, economic uncertainty, student debt

 

Rosie Tressler, CEO of student mental health charity Student Minds, tells me, “The 2016 Student Academic Experience Survey provided strong evidence that [undergraduates] have lower levels of wellbeing than the rest of the population, with roughly one-third reporting psychological distress, and we know that the median age of higher education students overlaps the peak age of onset for mental health difficulties.” In other words, evidence suggests many people with mental health disorders first experience symptoms between the ages of 18 and 25.

 

When I asked students around the country about their experiences of mental health, they talked about stressful deadlines, difficulties forming new relationships, balancing a job with studies, financial worries and social pressures. They also painted a picture of patchy provision: while some received prompt and effective help, others described underfunded services, excruciatingly long waiting times and dismissive attitudes. One student talked about desperately trying to get a counselling appointment when booking opened at 9am, only to find that all the slots had gone when she got through at 9.03am. A final-year student at another university wrote that she is experiencing increasing anxiety and can’t get help: “A good counsellor I saw in my first year has left, and they are not recruiting any more, so there are lots of students chasing very few appointments. They refer you on or offer leaflets. It seems very inadequate.”

Alex, 21, was a student at a Midlands university when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety and severe depression. She says services are able to deal only with the most seriously distressed students: “Because of the strain on the service, if you weren’t suicidal at the current time, you weren’t helped. You had to be five minutes from death or you had to wait weeks. You had to be at your worst.”

The counselling she was eventually offered was helpful, but she felt the eight-week wait was too long and the six weeks it lasted too short. For long-term therapy on the NHS, she was told she needed to wait a year, by which time she would have graduated and moved home. “So it’s kind of pointless,” she says. For others, such as George Watkins, 21, who is at Cardiff and has had anxiety and depression for eight years, the experience has been more positive: “It is since coming to university that I have made the most progress. I came off the crippling medication, came through suicidal patches and have now come more or less out the other side.” After having a breakdown around the time of his GCSEs, Watkins didn’t leave his house for six months, and then didn’t leave his small town in Dorset for three years.

At NTU, Alison Bromberg still thinks there is cause to feel optimistic about the future. “I do. I actually do. It feels as if we’re embracing a much more holistic framework across the sector.” She cites proposed changes to the university curriculum, such as creating course content for all students on subjects such as coping with change and understanding stress and anxiety. “We’ve got to make sure mental health becomes everybody’s business. That’s the journey we’re on. And I think we’ve come a long way.” 

Click here for link to the full article: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/28/campus-confidential-counsellors-student-mental-health-crisis

 

Therapeutic Support Services

Harmless provide free therapeutic support to both adults and young people. Our age range covers from 11 years up to 70 years. We provide both long term and short term therapy:

  • Short term therapy may last up to 12 sessions with reviews.
  • Long term therapy can last up to 2 years with reviews.

We provide short term community outreach therapeutic clinics in for both adults and children for up to 12 sessions.

We offer monthly drop in support sessions creating a relaxed atmosphere, offering information and advice.

  • Young Person (11-21Yrs) Wednesday 31st May 2017 4 – 5 pm
  • Adult (18+ Yrs) Wednesday 7th June 2017 4 – 5 pm.

Drop in sessions are held at Nottingham Community and Voluntary Centre on Mansfield Road (opposite House of Fraser).

We provide monthly a Crisis Café, where people can come along for some informal support.

  • Our next Crisis Café is Wednesday 14th June 3.30 – 4.30 pm

We offer skype provision, so that people from out of the area wishing to receive remote support can have skype sessions.

If you would like any more information, please email us at info@harmless.org.uk.

Harmless Drop In Today

Harmless will be hosting a

Young Person Drop in Session

Wednesday 11th January.

at

4 – 5 pm

If you are aged between 11 – 21 years, and would like support for yourself, a friend or family member then feel free to come along.

Our sessions are friendly and welcoming. We create a relaxed atmosphere with approachable staff who provide important information explaining how our service can support you, your friends and family or a colleague.

Drop in sessions are held at Nottingham Community and Voluntary Centre on Mansfield Road (opposite House of Fraser).

If you have trouble finding us please call on 0115 8348445 or email us at info@harmless.org.uk

I would like to introduce James Park to you…

He is writing a book which look at the factors causing young people to self harm, the unhelpful ways in which services sometimes respond to their distress, and the routes people find back to feeling on top of things. 

He has written books before, ran for 20 years an organisation that helped schools promote young people’s mental health and emotional well-being, and is a qualified (but currently non-practising) psychotherapist.

He is happy to talk by phone, over skype, face-to-face… or in any other way that works for you. He will treat whatever you tell him as confidential and, if he does use elements of your story in the book, will ensure you cannot be identified.

You can get in touch with James by email (jamesrobertpark@icloud.com), by phone (0771 201 3172) or via Adrienne Grove at Harmless on 01158348445 or email adrienne@harmless.org.uk 

Please take a little time to read his email below and help him to get the correct messages across. If you have any questions please give me or James a call. This is our chance to be heard..

Adults not listening: will you tell me your story?

Ask a young person who sometimes self-harms, or thinks of killing themselves, what it is they most crave from the adults around them, and the chances are they’ll say it’s the opportunity to be really listened to. They may add that really listening is something their parents, teachers and others seem to find it really, really hard to do.

All too often, what adults call listening is actually telling: getting in first with a response to what they think a young person is wanting to say: trying to reassure them that they are loved, have the potential to do well in school, will get better in time. They challenge rather than absorb, try to map a shortcut to health rather than being attentive to the thoughts struggling to be expressed.

The effect on the young person is all too often to plunge them back into the despair they thought they were starting to claw their way out of. Asking to be listened to can be an act of considerable courage. It’s about starting to create a small space in which you can feel in control of your own life, evolving a language to express the strange feelings that toss you around: listening to your true self instead of the angry, reproachful voices in your head. Being talked back to just confirms what you feared all along: that you are powerless and undeserving.

In looking for an explanation of why so many young people today are experiencing such high levels of emotional distress, I suspect the answer is to be found in the fact that adults are finding it harder to listen. There are too many anxieties knocking around in their heads: particularly about whether there’s going to be work available for their child, a decent income to be earned: all of which is seen to be dependent on whether a child will get those grades they are going to need. And that’s before a child has started cutting themselves or opening top-floor windows with the thought that they might jump into oblivion.

Another way adults deal with their anxieties is handing the responsibility for listening to their child on to someone else. But while a therapist or counsellor may provide welcome respite, may foster the courage to go back and ask again… and again … for the right to be heard, they cannot replace having a parent who listens quietly … over many hours and days … to what it is their child is trying to make sense of.

And when an adult thinks they have been listening, and has done the caring thing by finding a professional to help, the next time they hear the child telling them they have not been heard, they may inadvertently, in a few unfortunate seconds, express exasperation or frustration, sparking a further downward spiral as the young person turns away, towards some other strategy for managing their despair.

I am writing a book about how we, as a society, can break these cycles of failed communication. To do that I want to hear your stories: whether of asking to be listened to from people who could not respond, or of finding a listener who helped you to health; of trying to listen but failing, or of finding a way to do so. Please get in touch via email (jamesrobertpark@icloud.com) or phone (0771 201 3172). I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

James

Harmless Drop in

Harmless will be hosting a

Young Person Drop in Session

Thursday 8th December.

4 – 5 pm

If you are aged between 11 – 21 years, and would like support for yourself, a friend or family member then feel free to come along.

Our sessions are friendly and welcoming. We create a relaxed atmosphere with approachable staff who provide important information explaining how our service can support you, your friends and family or a colleague.

Drop in sessions are held at Nottingham Community and Voluntary Centre on Mansfield Road (opposite House of Fraser).

If you have trouble finding us please call on 0115 8348445 (Professional use only)
or email us at info@harmless.org.uk

Meet our Clinical and Support Services Team

During my time as Clinical and Support Services Manager I have observed Harmless and The Tomorrow Project grow from a very small area in an office with three members to what it is today. I am proud to say I have been part of the team over the past nine years. We have grown from strength to strength enabling access to psychological services, information, training and consultancy to people who are at risk of self harm, suicidal thoughts and intent; their friends, families and professionals. People self harm to manage their distress, and as high as 1 in 10 people have at some point coped in this way. At the heart of our service there is a real sense of hope and recovery, we know that with the appropriate help, life experiences can ultimately be improved. You can help us to reduce the stigma and isolation for people who are struggling by being willing to talk about this subject.

The Tomorrow Project is a confidential suicide prevention project that has been set up to support individuals and communities to prevent suicide. Suicide is a decision that someone makes to end their life when they feel overwhelmed by their life circumstances.  The struggles they face can seem too difficult or painful and they feel and think like they have run out of options. We are providing crisis services in the community to people at risk of suicide and support to families and communities who are bereaved by suicide. Talking about the subject will shatter stigma, enable people to share their story and therefore find the support they need.

I’m excited to build on clinical services within Harmless and The Tomorrow Project working with colleagues and the community to give our community the resources, training and support needed to do your bit in supporting, signposting, and enabling help seeking.

Over the past few weeks the Tomorrow Project Team have launched our new Crisis Cafe, named by people attending, as the Catch Up Cafe. Here you can meet the team:

Adrienne Grove

Clinical and Support Services Manager

 

Val Stevens

Harmless Self Harm and Suicide Prevention Worker

 

Colin Menz

Harmless Project Worker

 

Bevan Dolan

Tomorrow Project Suicide Crisis Project Worker

 

Katie Smith

Tomorrow Project Suicide Crisis Project Worker

 

Ashley Dunstan

Tomorrow Project Suicide Bereavement Project Worker

 

For those of you looking for some support, wanting to meet the team or just a chat up, get in touch and come have a cuppa with us. To find out when the next Catch up Cafe will be, contact us at info@harmless.org.uk. See you at the catch Up Cafe!

Adrienne

Young people’s mental health care is ‘inadequate’ according to specialist nurses

According to a survey of 631 workers in children and adolescent services, 43% said things were getting worse.  The poll was carried out by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) for the Guardian newspaper.

Mental health care nurses say they’re worried that the rationing of access to care and shortage of beds are so bad that young people risk harming, or even killing themselves. 

Stacey, which isn’t her real name, is a nurse who works on an acute ward for people with severe and enduring mental illness stated, “Mental health staff should get more training and that more specialist units are needed, especially outside bigger towns and cities.”

For more information click the following link:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/37551837/young-peoples-mental-health-care-is-inadequate-according-to-specialist-nurses  

Changes to upcoming drop-in session

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Harmless have rearranged the upcoming drop in for young persons.

This drop-in was due to take place on Friday 15th July 2016, but has now been rescheduled to take place on:

Wednesday 20th July 2016: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

This session is for young persons aged up to 21 years.

Our sessions are friendly and welcoming. Our approachable staff create a friendly and inviting atmosphere, offering a friendly face and provide information about our services.

You will have the opportunity to meet Val our experienced and qualified therapist and Colin, our experienced and friendly Project Worker.

We provide services for anyone and not just for those who self harm. If you have concerns about someone else such as a family member or a colleague then feel free to join us.

Please feel free to bring along someone who you can trust such as a friend if this makes you feel more at ease.

All drop in sessions will take place at the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service Building, 7 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB (Opposite House of Fraser)

If you have trouble finding us please call on 0115 9348445 or email us at info@harmless.org.uk