The new services will enable children to take part in activities such as art therapy and boxing to improve their mental health before it reaches crisis point
"This is great news for our young people who will benefit from a wide range of free services that offer specialist targeted emotional and wellbeing support. Most of these will be delivered through schools. We know young people are struggling emotionally and have been for some time, this new programme will help reach those most in need before they hit crisis point.” Councillor Hitesh Karia, Harrow Council cabinet member for children and young people
Children and young people in the North West London borough of Harrow are to benefit from a new partnership providing access to mental health services.
The collaboration between Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL), Harrow Council, and the Young Harrow Foundation will be open to children and young people ranging in age from five to 25. It will enable them to access a wide range of services, including art therapy, drama, emotional skills training, boxing and mentoring, all designed to help improve mental health and wellbeing.
The partnership will fund 17 voluntary and charitable organisations in the local area. The aim, it says, is to “help empower young people to take control of their emotional health, before the crisis point.” Schools, parents, GPs and other professionals will be able to refer children and young people to the service.
Councillor Hitesh Karia, Harrow Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This is great news for our young people who will benefit from a wide range of free services that offer specialist targeted emotional and wellbeing support. Most of these will be delivered through schools. We know young people are struggling emotionally and have been for some time, this new programme will help reach those most in need before they hit crisis point.”
A report published last year, supported by CNWL and North West London Clinical Commissioning Group, found that many young people in Harrow were concerned about their mental health. It revealed that 65% of the 6,000 young people surveyed in said they “sometimes” or “often” feel depressed or anxious. Amongst the 14-17 age group, nearly 30% said they often felt nervous or anxious and a quarter said they often felt depressed.
Dan Burke, CEO of Young Harrow Foundation, said: “Voluntary services in Harrow are already a lifeline to so many young people. It’s great that this funding will enable them to extend their reach and offer new and innovative services that will benefit so many more young people over the next year – when they need it most.”
More information about the service is available here.
It’s great to see a local initiative tackle mental health and wellbeing in children with activities designed to help them before they reach crisis point. Many of the activities are social, helping to tackle feelings of loneliness and isolation, while others involve sport and exercise, which have been shown to help improve mental wellbeing. It would be good to see similar initiatives rolled out elsewhere. Many social budgets have been cut in recent years and if such an initiative is successful, it will need support beyond Central and North West London.