Hull gets a Head Start on improving young peoples emotional health

28-08-2014

A new emotional health and wellbeing pilot scheme is heading to Hull thanks to a successful bid for £500,000 to the Big Lottery Fund. 

The 'Head Start' project is aimed at 10 - 14 year olds and is designed to help school pupils' deal with their worries and problems. 

Hull, along with 11 other areas around the country have been chosen to take part in a pilot scheme that will look at young people's emotional health and resilience, supporting them to tackle a range of issues, from bullying, body image and peer pressure, to exam stress and even the pressure of moving up from Primary to Secondary School. It is extremely important to Hull as past research has shown that Hull has low levels of emotional health amongst young people. 

This pilot stage of the project will run until December 2015 with 13 Hull schools taking part. Each school will deliver universal support through school based interventions with additional support for those who need it both in school and in the community. The pilot will also provide support to parents and carers. Targeted support and interventions for those at risk of developing mental health issues will include peer mentors for young people and for parents, counselling, psychological support or structured 10 week programmes to reduce risk and build resilience. 

The scheme is run by a partnership between Hull City Council, NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Schools, CAMHS and voluntary sector organisations including Cornerhouse and Child Dynamix. 
The local model of delivery was developed following extensive consultation with 1,500 children and young people across Hull as well as parents, schools and other services. If the pilot proves successful, the partnership will be eligible to bid for £10 million and the scheme could be rolled out across the city for five years. 

Rachel Roberts, Assistant City Manager for Early Help and Commissioning said: 

"We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to pilot work to improve children and young people's emotional health in Hull. Mental and emotional health is incredibly important in children's development and we know from research that mental illness in young people often develops from aged 14 onwards. 

We hope that through early help and intervention for children who are experiencing issues, we can build their emotional resilience and encourage them to talk about their problems before they develop into anything more serious. 

The Headstart programme will mean that children receive the right support at important stages of their lives". 

Julia Mizon, Co-Chair Hull Children's and Families Board and NHS Hull CCG Director of Commissioning and Partnerships said: 

"NHS Hull CCG's ambition extends beyond commissioning health care for children and young people in Hull. We want young people in this city to be active, confident, engaged learners, who can face challenges and know how to relate positively to others. We know this can't be achieved in isolation which is why we are committed to working together with the City Council, schools and voluntary and youth organisations under the Head Start Hull programme. 

Head Start Hull is further supported by our joint Children and Young People Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Hull 2020 transformation programme; both aiming to ensure young people continue to make positive, healthier life choices. 

"We're proud that Hull has been chosen as one of only 11 areas nationally to deliver Head Start. This is chance to get things right for young people in our city - and we will ensure that every penny is spent wisely to continue to improve the lives of our next generation." 

The 10 primary and three secondary schools taking part in the pilot scheme include Newland School for girls, Christopher Pickering and Griffin Primary Schools. In consultation with our schools, one senior member of staff school told us. 

"Pupils in today's society have so much to contend with. Pressure and expectations, both from home and school can be immense and pupils have to be given the skills to cope and be resilient to them. 

"Some pupils need extra support to cope with the different things that society throws at them. Anxiety issues are becoming more prominent in pupils as they struggle to cope with adult life. 

Prevention is always the best route to take and the delivery of this programme will be perfect for our school". 
The pilot will also work in partnership with young people to develop digital tools including an app for support with cyber-bullying and other emotional health issues and a You Tube channel to improve access to online support which young people identified as important in our research. 

A 15 year old young person supported by Cornerhouse has been working on developing the app and said: 

"We wanted to create a place for young people to be able to go for support when they were being bullied or made to feel uncomfortable". 

The app has been designed by the young people and will have links to local and national support networks such as ChildLine and Young Minds. 

Young people already involved in some of the programmes offered as part of Headstart said: 

"Before I joined the group I didn't know what resilient meant, but now I've been in the group for a while I'm starting to build resilience. If I didn't have resilience I wouldn't be able to do the things I do now". 

"I like it because it gives me pride in myself and more confidence in my behaviour". 

In addition to the work with young people and parents the pilot will also develop a Voluntary Sector Resilience Network which will work with young people's organisations in the voluntary and community sector to provide support and training on improving young people's emotional health and resilience. 

To find out more about the pilot scheme visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk 

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