NHS programme launched to help Bedford parents support their children’s mental health

child mental health

Parents and carers across the county can now access an award-winning programme of NHS parent and carer psycho-education sessions after they were successfully trialled in Bedford.

The year-long programme of events launches this month and is designed to help parents understand mental health pressures their children could be facing and to give them the skills and techniques to help them.

Two online sessions will be held every month, starting from November, and cover themes including anxiety, school pressure and self-harm.

The Parent Emotional Wellbeing Programme was launched in the Bedford and Central Bedfordshire areas by Bedfordshire CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) in 2019 following a successful pilot.

The programme team received the Commissioners’ Award at the 2019 East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) staff awards. ELFT provides CAMHS care across Bedfordshire and Luton.

CAMHS have now partnered with CHUMS, a mental health and emotional wellbeing service for children and young people, to provide an extended programme that now includes Luton.

“The interest in these sessions from parents has been exceptional and clearly demonstrated a need for this kind of support,” said Kirsty Sharp, one of the project leads and CAMHS community mental health nurse.

“We want to help more parents and carers have confidence in supporting their children by giving them practical skills and strategies and highlighting other services that may be available.”

Dawn Hewitt, Chief Executive at CHUMS commented, “It is extremely positive for CHUMS to be working alongside ELFT in the delivery of the Parenting Wellbeing Programme.

“The programme will ensure that parents and carers are given information and insight, so that they can understand the issues that their children face.

“By offering a holistic approach the programme will aid communication in the family and build resiliency.”

The sessions are designed to be friendly and informal and each topic will take place twice; once in the daytime and once in the evening. This is to ensure they are accessible so parents can attend which time suits them best.

They are open on to any parent or carer who has a child under 18 registered at a Bedfordshire or Luton GP practice.

The programme began with Exam and School Pressures sessions on November 4 and 16, followed by Bereavement on December 2 and 16.

Details, including how to register, are available on the ELFT website www.elft.co.uk and CHUMS website www.chums.uk.com.

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