Partnership to improve wellbeing

Barnardos partnership

A charity has strengthened its links with a local authority as it looks to improve mental health in Renfrewshire

23rd October 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has strengthened links with a local authority as aims to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Barnardo’s Scotland and Renfrewshire Council are working in partnership to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people in Renfrewshire. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategic Partnership was launched on Monday (21 October) at Johnstone Town Hall. 

The children’s charity and local authority have a longstanding and strong working relationship including over 20 years of providing services together, however, the strategic partnership is a unique way of working for both partners – research, identifying change in the community and service design will be led by those at the core of the system – children and young people.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategic partnership will tackle the causes and not just the symptoms of mental health, focusing on prevention and early intervention, by reducing the risks so all children and young people have improved life chances and are more able to fulfil their potential.  Input from children and young people, practitioners and partners in Renfrewshire will drive this unique initiative.

Samantha King, Barnardo’s Scotland’s programme manager for mental health and wellbeing, said: “Mental health and wellbeing is one of the major public health challenges facing our generation. The number of children and young people with mental health and wellbeing issues is increasing and services providing support are struggling with capacity to manage the ever increasing referral numbers. 

“This partnership aims to improve fundamental social and economic structures in the local community, order to decrease stresses and barriers and improve supports that allow young people in Renfrewshire to achieve their full potential.”

Between March and May of 2019, Barnardo’s Scotland ran consultation workshops and focus interviews with over 70 children and young people from the local area; over 65 practitioners, and 26 strategic partners across Renfrewshire, asking for views on mental health and wellbeing services and supports, identifying good practice and where there were gaps.

The workshops identified aspects of life that can cause mental health in young people; where service provision could be implemented early to tackle those areas; looking at and using services that may already be in existence in the local area, and building on local assets and strengths. Further workshops are planned which will give children and young people the opportunity to present their views working with practitioners and in peer groups. 

The consultations and workshops will shape how to tackle the causes and not just the symptoms of mental health.  The partnership will work within communities to identify where changes must be made with the long term objective being, that fewer children and young people in Renfrewshire require support for severe, complex or persistent mental health disorders.

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “I’m delighted that we are launching this new strategic partnership in Renfrewshire. Barnardo’s Scotland chose to focus on Renfrewshire as one of only three locations across the UK. We have worked with the council for over 20 years delivering a whole range of services to children and families. 

“Strong partnership working and a track history of innovation were also important factors in selecting Renfrewshire.  We now have a strong and exciting partnership across education, health, social work and the third sector.”

Councillor Jim Paterson, deputy council leader and convener of education and children's services at Renfrewshire Council, said: “We’re very proud to be partnering with Barnardo’s Scotland on this ground-breaking initiative.

“To continue to strengthen the services we provide for young people living with mental health issues, we’re encouraging young people to let us know what’s affecting them most in relation to their mental wellbeing.  

“The support young people receive now will have a lasting impact on them, so it’s vital that all sources of mental health support are relevant and tailored to the needs of every individual.

“We’re looking forward to developing this partnership and to working with Barnardo’s Scotland to improve life outcomes for young people across Renfrewshire.”