Charities team up for child mental health programme

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Supporting schoolchildren: Eilidh Prior, Graeme Henderson and Roslyn Neely

Pilot scheme aims to improve the wellbeing of schoolchildren in Edinburgh.

19th November 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A new support programme being piloted in Edinburgh aims to improve children’s wellbeing and relieve pressure on mental health services.

Living Life To The Full is a guided self-help system delivered in classrooms and via one-one-one sessions with pupils at Castlebrae High School in Craigmillar.

Young people who have had their referral to mental health services rejected, or who are awaiting their first appointment, will also be able to self-refer to the programme for support.

The initiative is being run by SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) with funding from the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC).

Graeme Henderson, SAMH executive director of delivery and strategic development, said: “We’re delighted to be delivering this pilot programme which we hope will improve young people’s awareness and understanding of mental health and wellbeing, and help them to build resilience to deal with daily challenges.

“As well as building capacity within Castlebrae High School, we’re also providing a quick and effective offering to young people who don’t qualify for, or are waiting for their first appointment with, specialist mental health services.

“We hope that this service will help young people and their families when they most need support.”

The programme, which was developed by Glasgow University professor Chris Williams and Five Areas, aims to help young people tackle negative thoughts, overcome low confidence, and learn techniques for coping with difficult emotions.

Professor Williams said: “There are so many challenges facing young people that life often seems overwhelming to them. Living Life To The Full for Young People helps them work out why they feel as they do, and teaches key practical skills they can use in their everyday lives.”

Roslyn Neely, CEO of Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, added: “This is a hugely valuable and worthwhile service which will transform the lives of young people by providing early intervention for those impacted by mental health, as well as offering an alternative route for those waiting for or unable to access mental health services.”

Eilidh Prior, Support for Learning Teacher at Castlebrae High said the school was “delighted” to have been chosen for the pilot.

She added: “We are committed to developing our students’ understanding of mental health and supporting them in any way that we can to improve their confidence and resilience. As a team we understand the importance of early intervention and the positive impact this will have within our school community.”