County Councillor Cosima Towneley

Millions being invested in children’s mental health in Lancashire and South Cumbria

Health leaders in Lancashire and South Cumbria have been awarded an additional £10.7m investment to improve children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The announcement comes ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13 February 2022) when landmarks across the region will be lit green to demonstrate the importance of children and young people’s mental health.

Over the past three years, health and care partners have been working together to develop the THRIVE model of care which looks to prevent poor mental health and wellbeing, as well as supporting young people as soon as they start to experience difficulties.

NHS organisations, local authorities, education, the police, and representatives from the voluntary, community, faith, and social enterprise sector (VCFSE) have been working with parents, carers and young people to redesign services for children and young people aged 0-19.

Samantha Mortimer, Associate Director of Clinical Transformation for children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing, said: “Since 2018 we’ve held a number of design workshops and we are extremely grateful to the young people and their parents and carers who have given their time to share their experiences of using services. Their open and honest input has helped to identify how we need to work differently to improve children and young people’s mental health.

“Through these workshops we’ve developed our delivery model aligned to the principles of THRIVE where there is a focus on the needs of the child or young person, rather than a diagnosis.

“As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, we wanted to highlight our commitment to improving the mental health and wellbeing of our young people across Lancashire and South Cumbria. What better way to do that than lighting up some of our most significant local landmarks, such as Blackpool Tower, County Hall in Preston, parts of Royal Preston Hospital and Ashton Memorial in Lancaster, for all to see.”

County Councillor Cosima Towneley, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for children and families, said: "We welcome the £10.7m investment made by the Government.

"Children need to be supported through periods of crisis to emerge stronger and more resilient for life. We are working closely with the NHS to tackle this issue.

"Lighting up County Hall is a small outward signal to all residents of Lancashire that mental health is important, should not be hidden under a bushel and no one need suffer unnecessarily in silence.

"If you have concerns over children in your care, please take advantage of this week to speak together and with our professional partners."

The £10.7million investment is part of a government commitment to support health providers to offer quality mental health services for children and young people.

It will be used to deliver a whole scale transformation programme across Lancashire and South Cumbria over the next three years based upon the THRIVE principles.

This will reduce waiting times, improve experience and quality of care, and make sure young people receive consistent levels of care wherever they live in the region. There will also be a focus on developing crisis care and making sure there is support for young people at any time of the day or night, reducing the need for young people to be admitted to hospital.

The investment will support the recruitment of more primary mental health workers who are trained and experienced in working within the community to promote positive mental health and wellbeing, giving advice and support at an early stage.

Plans are also in place to implement locality based Initial Response Services (IRS) across Lancashire and South Cumbria. This will mean all mental health referrals for adults and children will be received through one front door, either by self-referral, a single telephone number or email address.

Finally, as part of the government commitment to make sure three million pupils nationally receive mental health support in schools by 2023, we will see more Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) across Lancashire and South Cumbria over the three years.

To mark the start of Children’s Mental Health Week, young people on the Fylde Coast suggested landmarks should be lit green and the following monuments will be taking part on Monday 7 February:

• County Hall, Preston
• The ‘Wonder Wall’ at Royal Preston Hospital
• Sharoe Green Unit, Royal Preston Hospital
• Kendal Town Hall Clock, Kendal
• Ashton Memorial, Lancaster
• Dalton Castle, Dalton
• Hoad Monument, Furness
• Barrow Town Hall, Barrow
• Winter Gardens, Morecambe
• Blackpool Tower, Blackpool
• Lytham Windmill, Lytham St Annes
• Marine Hall, Fleetwood
• Chorley Town Hall