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We hear You! - Children's Mental Health Week

A recent survey capturing the views of children and young people across Liverpool is set to help shape mental health support and services in the City. Mental health has been a major concern for everyone during the Pandemic; especially the impact on our youngest residents. To better understand what's been happening, Liverpool City Council, alongside health and education partners in the City collaborated with the University of Oxford to roll out the:- 'OxWell survey' to children and young people aged nine to 18 years old.

The anonymous survey asked children and young people a range of questions about their lives; covering topics such as:- eating and sleeping, physical activity, mental health and wellbeing and their experience of lockdown. Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Cllr Tom Logan said:- "1 of our top priorities is ensuring the mental health and emotional wellbeing of our children and young people is supported, enabling them to flourish in their education. I'm immensely proud of everyone who has shared their experiences about their School life; they are now helping develop the type of support that will be available in the future."

Around 12,000 children and young people responded to the survey, and Children's Mental Health week has presented a perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of hearing their voices. Director of Public Health for Liverpool, Matt Ashton said:- "It's really important we listen and understand how our children and young people are feeling. Mental health is not static; at any one time a child or young person may be anywhere on a spectrum of wellness. The Pandemic has thrown into the mix, disruption to potential coping strategies, limited access to support and for many introduced further emotional challenges."

₤1m is being invested in a series of projects and initiatives, supported by School Improvement Liverpool and Oxford University; providing guidance and practical help on keeping children, and young people safe and happy. This is in addition to existing increased NHS investment to support improved access to mental health services, given the rise in demand during the Covid19 Pandemic.

Programme Manager for Children and Young People's Mental Health at NHS Liverpool CCG, Lisa Nolan said:- "Ensuring children, young people and their families know there is support available is key. Whether it is advice on self care, support if they feel low, anxious, stressed, or in crisis, The Liverpool CAMHS partnership; a combination of NHS providers, education and third sector agencies; are here to help."

Children in Primary Schools and Special Schools will participate in a series of live wellbeing sessions hosted by the Liverpool Learning Partnership as part of the City's approach to mental health. These sessions are to be delivered by Liverpool's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) partner, Merseyside Youth Association's RAISE Team.

Throughout the week, members of the CAMHS Partnership will also be running a range of wellbeing events in Schools and in the local community; including:- workshops and group activities for children and young people of all ages.

A range of support and help is also available for parents and carers on the Liverpool CAMHS website, including how to make a referral to CAMHS. To mark Children's Mental Health week, Liverpool's Civic buildings will be lit up green until 13 February 2021. To find out more about what's happening visit:- LiverpoolCAMHS.Com.

1 in 3 employers have not talked to staff about their mental health over the past year

NEW research by Acas has found that 35% of British employers have not spoken to their staff about their mental health and wellbeing over the past year during the Coronavirus (Covid19) Pandemic. Acas commissioned YouGov to ask businesses in Britain about whether they had personally talked to their staff about their mental health in the last 12 months during the Pandemic. The poll found that:-

59% had spoken to staff.

35% had not talked to staff.

3% did not know or could not remember.

3% preferred not to say.

The publication of the results coincided with Time to Talk day, which aims to support people to have conversations about mental health. Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:- "The Pandemic has been a challenging period for everyone and it is great to see that most employers have chatted to their staff about their mental health and wellbeing. However, a ⅓ of employers have not spoken to their staff about their mental health over the past year. Taking the time to talk openly about mental health is vitally important as it can avoid problems building up and lead to improved morale at work. Acas has good advice and training on how to support and manage mental health and wellbeing at work, which includes tips on how to start those conversations."

Acas advice for employers on managing mental health during Covid19 includes:-

Be approachable, available and encourage team members to talk to you if they're having problems.

Keep in regular contact with your team to check how they are coping.

Address any individual communication preferences such as asking team members if they prefer to talk over the phone, through video meetings or by email.

Respect confidentiality and be calm, patient, supportive and reassuring if a staff member wants to have a chat about their mental health.

Look after your own mental health and get support if you feel under more pressure than usual. This support could be a colleague at work, a Mental Health Network or a Counsellor.

For the full Acas advice, please see:- Acas.Org.UK/Coronavirus-Mental-Health.

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