Children’s Mental Health Week, 1-7 February 2021

The PMHA is delighted to be supporting #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek, organised by the charity @Place2Be. Of course, for those of us in the PMHA, every week is Children’s Mental Health Week, but this yearly event is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of this issue more widely and start some important conversations at work and at home.

This past year has been an incredibly difficult one for many families, and we are starting to see more and more evidence about the effects that COVID-19, lockdown and school closures have had on children and young people in the UK and around the world. A poll at our annual meeting last week found that 97% of attendees had seen a change in children and young people presenting in acute crisis during COVID-19, with more than 7 in 10 seeing both increased numbers and increased complexity of presentation. And for every child presenting to hospital, there are likely countless more struggling at home.

“Express Yourself”

The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is “Express Yourself”. Many of us can find it hard to talk about mental health, particularly with children and young people. Place2Be have compiled an excellent set of resources – available at https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/schools-and-youth-groups/ – to help start these conversations and empower children to express themselves in different ways.

Many young people may wish to seek support outside their immediate friends and family. @YoungMindsUK has compiled an excellent list of support services available by phone, text, email and web chat, available here: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/get-urgent-help/ 

Of course, it’s not only children who need help and support during these challenging times. @LittleGoodDeed is a campaign aimed at helping parents and carers who may be struggling during lockdown. If you can, try to take the opportunity this week to reach out to a friend, colleague or family member who may be struggling. If you’re struggling yourself, see https://www.littlegooddeed.org.uk/getsupportnow for a list of useful resources you can access online or by phone.

We at the PMHA will continue to share useful resources throughout this week and beyond, so don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook and, if you haven’t, sign up to become a PMHA member. We look forward to hearing more about how you’ve marked Children’s Mental Health Week and – crucially – how you keep that important work going in the weeks and months to come.

The PMHA Annual Meeting is this week

A reminder that the PMHA Annual Meeting 2021 is taking place ONLINE on Thursday and Friday of this week.

The meeting has a great line-up of talks and presentations relating to different aspects of paediatric mental health and is an excellent way to connect with others working in this field.

Don’t miss out on this excellent annual event. If you haven’t registered yet but would like to attend either of the days, then you can still do so by clicking here.

We look forward to seeing you later this week!

Where is the voice of the child in weighing the cost of this pandemic?

Frontline paediatricians have written to the editor of the British Medical Journal, advocating for the rights and safeguarding of children 

“We call upon Government to move quickly and decisively to try and repair the harm suffered by young, vulnerable people during this pandemic. Failure to do so will come at a price too high.”

To read the full text of the letter, click below:

https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1669/rr-5

Another interesting article in The Guardian

We should be overhauling the school system, not rushing to send children back

By Suzanne Moore on Monday 18th May, 2020.

“The emotional and social development of our children is paramount, not a rushed, unsafe return to constant invigilation.”

Click here to read the whole article:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/18/we-should-be-overhauling-the-school-system-not-rushing-to-send-children-back

Let us know your comments or thoughts …

The PMHA will be at the Royal College of Paediatrics conference (28th April)

A short post to say that the PMHA is going to be at the annual Royal College of Paediatrics meeting on Tuesday 28th April 2020.

The PMHA session is linked with the British Association of Paediatricians in Audiology (BAPA).

The theme of the PMHA / BAPA joint session is ‘difference and self’. Sound intriguing? Why not come along to find out more.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Assistant Officer for Mental Health on the RCPCH Health Improvement Committee

Below is a message from Dr Karen Street, MA (Oxon), BMBCh, MRCPCH, MScTLHP, who has recently been appointed the Assistant Officer for Mental Health on the RCPCH Health Improvement Committee and is a member of the PMHA Executive Committee:

I am the new Assistant Officer for Mental Health on the RCPCH Health Improvement Committee. I trained in Oxford, Sheffield and Bristol, and for the last 13 years have been a Consultant general paediatrician at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. Throughout my very broad training (with a few detours to have my three children) I have always been interested in the overlap areas between community child health and acute paediatric hospital care, which over my Consultant career has developed more specifically into the overlap between physical and mental health. I believe in entirely joined up working with child and adolescent mental health professionals and over the last 10 years in Exeter, East and Mid Devon we have together established an eating disorder service which is cited as a good practise example in the commissioning guide ‘Access and waiting time standard for children and young people with an eating disorder’, a commissioner funded P3 (persistent, problematic, unexplained, physical symptoms) pilot, which has been presented at RCPCH and YPHSIG conferences, and we are now the first district general hospital in the southwest to have a paediatric liaison psychiatrist.

In the second half of my Consultant career I have changed my working pattern and applied for the college role in which I am excited to both learn and to bring my local experience to a national level. My aims are to promote the message that ‘mental health is our business’ in all areas of college work and to all college members, and to ensure that  mental health considerations are embedded into all aims, policies, guidance etc produced by the College.  An essential part of this is incorporating mental health into the training of future paediatricians  at medical school, foundation years and through our Progress curriculum and I hope that some of this can be achieved by developing  joint training initiatives with our CAMHS colleagues within the RCPsych.  In my role I will also be continually advocating for integrated physical/mental health services for children and young people in my interactions at strategic level and by producing an RCPCH position statement, and including it in the role of the new RCPCH ambassadors who will be working at STP/ICS level. 

I look forward to being a part of the Paediatric Mental Health Association Executive Committee.

Karen is coming to our next Highgate meeting in January 2020 and looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible

Take a look at the programme, if you haven’t already seen it. It promises to be a fantastic meeting! Please spread the word.