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Tackling loneliness in Sefton this Mental Health Awareness Week

LEADERS in Sefton are aiming to break the stigma of loneliness during Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, by encouraging residents to open up and talk about their experiences of loneliness and how it impacts their mental health.

Long term loneliness is closely linked to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and isolation from loved 1 s. The Covid19 Pandemic has been hard for many people and those with mental health issues have seen them worsen over the last year or so. Often people feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about feelings of loneliness and how it is affecting their mental health and wellbeing.

Local leaders from Sefton Council and the NHS in Sefton are using Mental Health Awareness Week as an opportunity to encourage conversations around loneliness. They are taking to social media using the hashtag #SeftonInMind to share information on support services in Sefton that are available to all residents to support them with their mental health, feelings of loneliness, or to offer a listening ear to anyone who just needs to talk.

Fiona Taylor, chief officer of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:- "Now more than ever, many of us may recognise the feelings of loneliness and isolation, but the NHS and our support services in Sefton are here to help our residents during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond. We may feel embarrassed to talk about our feelings but it's time to break the stigma and start the conversation. You'd be surprised when you open up to others, how often you will hear 'I've been there'."

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet member for health and wellbeing said:- "If you've been feeling lonely and your mental health is suffering, you are not alone. This week is a great opportunity to reach out and talk to a friend or family member, or get help from 1 of our support services in Sefton. We can also all help to tackle loneliness in our local areas by reaching out to those who may be at more risk of isolation, such as elderly people, unpaid carers and those in our LGBTQ+ community. Just starting a conversation can really help to lift someone's spirits and give some much needed social connection."

To find information on mental health support services in Sefton during Mental Health Awareness Week, you can search for the hashtag #SeftonInMind or follow the Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton CCG, and NHS Southport and Formby CCG social media channels.

You can also find a list of mental health support services for adults in Sefton at:- SouthSeftonCCG.NHS.UK or mental health support service for children and young people at:- SouthSeftonCCG.NHS.UK.

Mental Health Awareness Week is organised every year by the Mental Health Foundation as an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. Find out more about the event at:- MentalHealth.Org.UK.

New research reveals Council maintained Schools outperforming academies

SCHOOLS that stay with their Council are more likely to perform better than those that convert to an Academy, a new report for the Local Government Association reveals.

The research found 92% of Council maintained Schools were rated outstanding or good by Ofsted as of 31 January 2022, compared to 85% of academies that were graded since they converted.

The LGA, which represents Councils, says this underlines the excellent track record of Council maintained Schools, which will need to be convinced of the benefits of academisation. The Government intends to persuade all Schools to become academies by 2030.

The research, which looked at School Ofsted ratings between August 2018 and January 2022, also found:-

Only 45% of academies that were an Academy in August 2018 were able to improve from inadequate or requires improvement to good or outstanding, compared to 56% of Council maintained Schools.

81% of Council maintained Schools retained their outstanding rating, compared to 72% of outstanding academies that received inspections in their current form and did not inherit grades from their former maintained School status.

28% of the same Academy cohort saw their outstanding rating fall compared to 19% of Council maintained Schools.

It was good the Government announced in the Schools White Paper that Councils will be allowed to set up their own multi Academy Trusts (MATs), which recognises the important role of Councils as partners in education improvement.

Ahead of a possible Education Bill in the Queen's Speech, the LGA has urging Government to build on this and utilise the knowledge and expertise of Councils in supporting Schools to improve.

By allowing Councils to create their own MATs, Schools that are currently maintained can continue enjoying the benefits of a strong working relationship with their Council in a fully academised School system.

The LGA says Government should move quickly in letting Councils set up MATS to support struggling Schools and quickly add capacity in areas with a lack of strong MATs.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said:- "Regardless of whether a School is an Academy or Council maintained, what is most important is that children receive the very best education and start in life. This is something we all aspire to achieve. While academisation can be a positive choice in some cases, these findings raise questions over whether a 1 -size-fits-all approach is a guaranteed way of improving results and strengthening a School's performance. Councils continue to demonstrate an excellent track record in improving Schools and it is vital Government uses the Queen's Speech to take full advantage of Councils' expertise and the key role they can play as an effective education partner. This is something that should develop at pace, with Government working closely with Councils and the LGA to improve the strength and inclusiveness of existing MATs."


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