More children and young people are experiencing poor mental health and emotional wellbeing including rising levels of anxiety, depression and self-harm. The demand for support is increasing across all service sectors and agencies do not currently share the same understanding, use the same language or work collaboratively to address the problem. Covid-19 has shed a spotlight on the emotional health and wellbeing needs of children and young people.
Agencies introduce single initiatives, in isolation. Pathways are not always clear and referrals to services are not always appropriate. Young people with defined mental health conditions often face stigma, institutionalisation and over medicalisation.
In a landscape of increasing detachment, there’s the need to create the appropriate platform (s) to deliver an agenda and working model that effectively explains and brings together currently disconnected and separate initiatives / services for children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing into an easy to understand format, without creating duplication.
In response to “A Healthier Wales”, the vision is to develop a whole system approach to improving the responses to children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing from a universal perspective. For this to happen, families and agencies need to know what needs to be achieved at each developmental stage.
The work steam is developing through co-production a meaningful integrated framework and working model with guiding principles for supporting the healthy development of emotional health, wellbeing and resilience of children and young people aged 0 – 18 years, that is relevant and applicable across all agencies – using a digital presence. The framework has incorporated the ‘Five ways to Wellbeing’ to shape a shared understanding, language and joint approaches to the interplay between building resilience, associated behaviours and emotional health and wellbeing.
Digital resources will be organised in developmental stages with easy and quick navigation to age appropriate ideas and resources, information and learning about emotional health and wellbeing and signpost to the first level of specialist help.
The completed framework and digital resource will establish one clear approach across agencies to help support children, young people and families improve their emotional health, wellbeing and resilience. It will develop clear guidance on when it is appropriate to seek help and where from, using attachment, behavioural and cognitive theories and practices to inform the design of activities and interventions that will help children and young people develop positive emotional health and wellbeing.
Excellent foundations have been laid for the project through agencies commitment to working towards having a mutual understanding, a shared vision and a common language; this entails a culture change and adopting new ways of working to ensure the need to provide a more integrated and responsive approaches to meeting children and young people’s emotional and mental wellbeing needs.