A new team of medics is working in schools to help identify youngsters with mental health issues earlier.
Around one in 10 under-19s in Blackpool will suffer from a mental illness in the future, it was estimated, and early intervention can ‘drastically improve their future prospects’, health chiefs in the resort said.
David Eaton, who heads up Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) team, said: “It is important to catch mental health issues early because this can affect a young person’s education, and will help them reach their full potential.
“Some youngsters may end up in the criminal justice system or turn to misusing drugs, tobacco, and alcohol if problems are not addressed early. There is a direct correlation between mental health and physical health.”
The service has recruited two new mental health workers and two new ‘wellbeing practitioners’, who are currently holding a series of assemblies at schools across the resort. They will be based at the Whitegate Drive Health Centre.
Trainee children’s wellbeing practitioner, Katy Tulloch, said some children don’t recognise when they are struggling with low moods or anxiety. “We are able to give them coping strategies and ways to self-help,” she said.
Fellow trainee Sophie Green added: “It’s about educating children to know there is help out there.
“Coming into the child’s environment makes them feel more comfortable. It’s not as daunting as going to a health centre.”