Living Well UK step up in support of children’s mental health

By - Integrated Care Journal

Birmingham-based consortium Living Well UK has received a grant of £30,000 to pilot a targeted support programme for children, aged between 11-13, who have witnessed or suffered from domestic abuse during lockdown.

The programme “Citizen Coaching and Counselling” will utilise the experience of qualified child and young person therapists based throughout the consortium. Fellow members Sport 4 Life and Spring to Life will support the programme with a dedicated trauma treatment plan.

The grant is made up from £10,000 donated by Birmingham City Council and a further £20,000 in funding from the Heart of England Community Foundation.

As pupils return to classrooms this week, several mental health charities have warned of a shortage of resources to cope with the number of young people that have witnessed or suffered domestic abuse during the pandemic. Having seen a spike in calls to crisis centres during the pandemic, with some incident rates reportedly increasing by 25 per cent, services are concerned that the lasting impact on child witnesses’ mental health could be catastrophic without sufficient early intervention.

Holly Beedon, Clinical Lead at Living Well UK, said: “Covid-19 has had a huge impact on people’s mental health across the board, but this is exacerbated in young people; not least those who are already in a vulnerable home environment.

“We are so thankful for the support for this initiative: it is going to provide a vital lifeline for so many young people across the West Midlands who need our support. It is crucial that pathways like this are facilitated now, to prevent cases become critical in the future. ”

The programme will also offer opportunities in the Sport 4 Life mentoring programme, which will provide young people with a mentor and access to sporting activities. This will further be complemented by ecotherapy treatments and access to qualified therapists via Spring to Life’s service.