New service aims to help children thrive in education

Date published: 19 May 2021

A new service has launched in Oldham to make sure school children with low-level emotional and behavioural difficulties receive the right help, at the right time, in the right place.

The Oldham young people’s mental health support team is run by mental health and learning disability trust Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Oldham Council’s mental health in education team and local charities Place2Be, and Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind.

The team’s goal is to help young people, from four to 18 years, to thrive in education and beyond, so they can reach their full potential.

Providing early support reduces the risk of issues becoming worse.

So the team also aims to reduce demand on Pennine Care’s higher level child and adolescent mental health services, freeing them up to care for those with more complex needs.

Based in 29 schools across the borough, the team’s main role is to support children and young people who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health difficulties.

They provide a range of support including behaviour activation for low mood (the relationship between activity and mood), managing anxiety and behaviour difficulties, improving low self-esteem and building confidence.

This is available face-to-face, by video or telephone, depending on the needs of the young person.

They also provide whole school group sessions, work closely with parents and provide training, consultation and advice to school staff.

This allows young people to benefit from a joined up approach.

Karen McElroy, clinical lead at Pennine Care, said: “The number of children experiencing mental health issues is increasing – particularly after the challenges of the last year. 

"It’s vital to identify difficulties early and provide the right support.

“We are passionate about supporting children and young people and making a positive difference to their lives and are looking forward to working with young people, education colleagues and parents across the area.”

Pennine Care has also launched a similar service in the Rochdale borough and hopes to expand into other Greater Manchester boroughs in the future. 

These brand new services have been possible thanks to funding from the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

Part of the Greater Manchester mental health in education programme, the funding aims to develop early help for mental health issues within schools and colleges; enabling staff to support students’ wellbeing and good mental health.

Parents and carers in Oldham who would like you know more should speak to their child’s teacher, or the school mental health lead or link worker.

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