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Mental health support for children and young people

10 October 2019

Children and young people are today being reminded of the mental health provision and support available to them, as well as new initiatives being launched by the Children, Young People, Education and Skills department.

Today, on World Mental Health Day, all secondary schools will receive an invitation to an ‘Emotional First Aid’ workshop. 'The Emotional First Aid' workshop, informed by principles of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), is being run by the Primary Mental Health team from the Psychology and Wellbeing Service, which is part of CYPES, and aims to teach students strategies for managing heightened emotions skillfully.

Dr Michelle Vaughan, Head of Service for the Psychology and Wellbeing Service, said: “The teenage years are a time of considerable change. Managing the pressures of friendships, exams, changing bodies and minds can be highly emotional. Students will not be expected to discuss their difficulties within the group.The aim will be for individuals to consider how each skill can be personalised to him or herself.”

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in CYPES also offers the DBT module, which will provide continuity if students ever experience significant needs and progress to access CAMHS support.

And next week, the first conference for Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA) will be held in Jersey. All Jersey schools have been offered the ELSA training for several years and to date they have trained almost 100 colleagues as ELSAs with around 70 of them now actively working in schools. This programme offers training and development for teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools to promote the emotional development and wellbeing of children and young people. It is designed to help schools build their capacity to support the emotional needs of their students by helping young people to recognise, understand and manage emotions to increase success. 

Training and supervision is offered by the Psychology and Wellbeing Service and is co-delivered by the Educational Psychology and Wellbeing teams. The first annual ELSA conference will include a graduation ceremony for the new trainees who have just passed their training element.

And another service supported by Children, Young People, Education and Skills, delivered through the Youth Service, is the YES project. They will be raising awareness on World Mental Health Day by holding a coffee morning for other professionals to find out about the services offered by YES to vulnerable young people. In 2018 the YES project delivered more than 1,300 counselling appointments as well as daily walks in support for young people and young adults requiring various information, advice and support for various issues such as bullying, relationships, drugs, alcohol, sexual health and safeguarding. 

The Youth Enquiry Service (YES), which is a partnership between Jersey Youth Trust and Jersey Youth Service, is the island's free drop-in information, advice and counselling project for young people and young adults aged 14 to 25 years which is based at Eagle House, La Colomberie, and open Monday to Friday 12pm to 6pm. They are hosting a drop-in session today between 9.30am and 11.30am for professionals who may want to visit the project, look around, take some leaflets and speak to a member of staff about what support and services they offer.

Several of Skills Jersey’s services also offer mental health support in the community. From the Trackers mentors to the Skills Coaches and Career Guidance services, all involve providing one-to-one support to islanders tackling challenges or facing changes. The relationships built between customers and their mentor/coach/advisor have positive effects on mental health and support individuals to achieve.

More than 100 Highlands staff have been trained in Mental Health First Aid this year. This is to support all staff in recognising the first signs of deterioration in a student and to know when to refer for specialist services. Student life employs a Student Counsellor as well as a Health and Wellbeing co-ordinator. They engage with specialist agencies for students. Highlands has expanded its enrichment and tutorial offer for all students as these are shown in research to be protective factors in social and emotional wellbeing. For staff, the senior leadership team is building upon the excellent work of the College’s wellbeing committee by developing a three-year strategy for staff wellbeing in partnership with the charity the Diversity Network. 

CYPES Social Emotional and Mental Health Inclusion Team (SEMHIT) offer training to all staff within government departments. Courses available include 'developing therapeutic skills', 'understanding and building emotional resilience' and 'attachment based mentoring'. Also available are various outdoor learning courses.

Kathryn Robinson, Head of Service for (SEMHIT), said: 'There is significant evidence which demonstrates the positive impact the right outdoor activity has on mental health. Outdoor learning benefits pupils across all age groups, improving both the wellbeing and ultimately their academic engagement'.


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