The total of open referrals (those undergoing treatment or waiting to start care) has risen by 147,853 since February 2020, a 54% increase, and by 80,096 over the last year alone, a jump of 24%. This has prompted experts in the field to warn of an unprecedented crisis in the wellbeing of under-18s.
It is recognised that the Covid-19 pandemic seriously exacerbated problems such as anxiety, depression and self-harm among school-age children. Over the past two years young people have experienced isolation, disruption to their education and have suffered from reduced access to support, including from counsellors and GPs.
The children’s commissioner for England has found that help from CAMHS (Children and Young Peoples Mental Health Services) is available within six days of being referred in certain areas, but in other places families are having to wait for as long as 81 days before their child is seen, despite some having self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts.
Evidence shows that early intervention services to support troubled young people as soon as they exhibit signs of distress, before their mental health further deteriorates, is significantly beneficial.
Bristol-based community organisations are being invited to register for Youth Mental Health First Aid Champion training to improve their knowledge in this area. The training will help people to recognise some of the more common mental health issues and improve their understanding of how they can best support young people experiencing these issues.
AXA and Business in the Community are partnering to deliver fully funded Youth Mental Health First Aid Champion training, to small community organisations, (approx 50 employees or fewer) working with young people in our area, particularly those working in the Hartcliffe, Withywood, Lawrence Hill and Filwood areas.
This is a Mental Health First Aid England (MHFAE) course, it is completely free for community organisations (it would normally cost around £200). It will be delivered online, over two half-day sessions by an AXA Health expert, and will take place at the end of June and throughout July. The course will be a mix of presentations, group discussions and interactive activities. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance and course material as part of it. The course involves an element of preparation/ pre-study.
If you would like to know more you can send an email to email@example.com. If you would prefer to talk through details of the course, and what it involves over the phone then if you email with your name and contact number one of the team will get back to you.
Places are limited and will be offered on a first-come basis so if you are interested and meet the criteria detailed on their website, register ASAP and by Friday 10th of June at the latest. More info here.