PMHA webinars on children’s and young people’s mental health

We are delighted to announce that, starting in June 2021, the PMHA is running a series of free webinars on children’s and young people’s mental health.

The webinars will run fortnightly on Monday evenings and will cover a range of topics relevant to the RCPCH training curriculum. Paediatric doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, as well as professionals from other medical specialties, are all welcome to attend.

We are excited to be collaborating with several different groups on this project. Half of our sessions will be aimed at general Paediatricians and we will be working with the very popular Thinking Together group to deliver some of these. The other half of our sessions will be run in conjunction with other subspecialty groups within the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), covering particular mental health issues affecting their patient populations.


First Webinar – Monday 7th June, 7:30pm

Our first webinar, run in collaboration with the Thinking Together group, will take place at 7:30pm on Monday 7th June. The focus will be Medically Unexplained Symptoms, and it will be delivered by the wonderful Dr. Virginia Davies, Consultant Paediatric Liaison Psychiatrist at The Whittington Hospital. It’s sure to be an engaging and interesting session and we look forward to welcoming lots of you there.


To register your interest in attending these webinars, please sign up to our mailing list at the following link using your professional email address (nhs.net or nhs.uk):

Click here to sign up to the mailing list

We will send regular emails with details of upcoming sessions and booking links. We will also make this information about the sessions available here on the PMHA website.

We’re looking forward to getting started with this new project
and can’t wait for you all to join us.

Sad news from Highgate House Hotel

Sundial Group, which operates the hotel, recently announced that is has been put into administration.

As many of you know, the lovely Highgate House Hotel near Northampton has hosted the Annual Meeting of the PMHA (formerly the BPMHG) for decades. We recently received this sad news from their events department. The Executive Committee is considering the options for next year’s meeting.

Below is a full message from Sundial Group:

“I was hoping to deliver this message over the phone, but have unfortunately be unable to reach you. I felt that you deserved to hear this from us rather than through social media or hearsay due to your loyalty to us so I hope you don’t mind me emailing. I’m afraid I have some very sad news about Sundial Group. Unfortunately the Group, including the businesses of Highgate House and Woodside, were put into administration on Monday this week. After nearly 12 months of ongoing costs without income it has not been possible to extend our borrowings further in a way that would maintain the viability of the businesses. This is a cash flow insolvency as the businesses have very significant assets which will now be sold with the expectation that all liabilities will be settled in full.  I’m afraid that this means we will not be reopening either venue. Obviously it is a very sad end to our hospitality business which, like so many others, has been unable to survive the global pandemic. Thank you so much for your wonderful support over the years. I know that many of our customers and guests have identified as part of the Sundial family and it’s such a shame that we have been left with no alternative. I am ever so sorry to have to deliver this news and I wish you all the best.”

Here is a photograph of Highgate House looking lovely as always in the spring sun.

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.