Chorley, South Ribble and Greater Preston CCG areas launch national programme to promote children and young people’s mental health

7th February 2020

The Link Programme is a national programme which aims to help health and education professionals to work more closely together so that children get the help they need, when they need it.

Every school and college in Chorley, South Ribble and Greater Preston areas was invited to attend as part of a drive to provide timely and appropriate support to children and young people.

Led by the Anna Freud Centre, and funded by the Department for Education, the Link Programme brings together professionals in a series of workshops to help schools and colleges understand when children and young people need support and to refer them as soon as their needs are identified.

Health professionals will share their learning to help education identify what support is available.

The four-year scheme has been piloted and tested over the last four years on 1,500 schools and colleges.

Statistical information provided by the Anna Freud Centre reveals “one in nine young people aged 5 to 15 had a diagnosable mental health condition in 2017 and teenagers with a mental health disorder are more than twice as likely to have a mental disorder in adulthood.” This scheme is part of the Government’s plan to improve mental health support for children and young people, including identifying mental health issues before they become more acute.

Janet Ince, Lead for Mental Health at the CCGs:

“This is a really important project and one that will make a major difference to children in Central Lancashire who are struggling with mental health. It will also give schools and colleges the confidence to identify children and young people in need of support and to sign post them to where they can get help.

“By offering expert mental health training in schools and identifying illness earlier we can help thousands more families to get the help they need to take care of their children.”

Feedback on Link Programme

“The worst thing for any teacher is to see a child struggling in class and not to know what to do about. The Link Programme will give teachers the skills and the knowledge to help children and young people when it’s needed. It gets children help, promotes good mental health and it gives teachers the freedom to teach. It’s good news for everyone.”

CEO of the Anna Freud Centre Professor Peter Fonagy said :

“With half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders beginning by the age of 14, there is no greater investment we can make from an economic or moral perspective than to promote the physical and mental health of children and young people. We need to give children and young people in Central Lancashire the help they need when they need it and to think differently about how to deliver support. The Link Programme does exactly that.

“The Link Programme is a transformative programme which brings together mental health and education professionals to work together to promote mental health and alleviate children and young people’s distress. This way we can identify their needs early and sign post them to the best support.”

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