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Source: Channel Islands – Jersey

​Children and young people struggling with their mental health can now access immediate advice from a newly appointed practitioner.

A mental health and emotional wellbeing practitioner will be available daily from next Monday as part of the team at the Children and Families Hub, which was set up in March as part of the Children, Young People, Education and Skills Department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The practitioner will provide advice and guidance to young people, parents and professionals to ensure that children and families get the right help they need to support their emotional wellbeing and mental health needs.

The announcement of the new practitioner comes ahead of World Mental Health Day, which falls tomorrow, Saturday 10 October. According to the World Health Organisation, it is expected that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in an increase in demand for mental health and psychological support, which is why the aim of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is a call for increased investment in mental health.

The CYPES department is aware that the past few months have brought considerable challenges for children and young people who have had to contend with learning from home, disrupted exams and not being able to see friends and family. 

According to a recent survey about the Coronavirus outbreak undertaken by Jersey’s Children’s Commissioner, which was responded to by more than 2,000 local children, almost half stated they were feeling worried, while 10% of primary school children and 15-20% of older children reported feelings of anxiety.

Lisa Perkins, the Lead for the Children and Families Hub, said: “We really welcome the addition of our new practitioner to the team who will help strengthen the support that the Hub can provide to children, young people and families. 

“We know that the need for support for mental health and wellbeing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing and that families will welcome the opportunity to get advice. We will also be able to assist them in ensuring they access the right support from the range of mental health and wellbeing services offered by Government as well as the community and voluntary sector.”

The Minister for Children and Housing, Senator Sam Mézec, said: “I’m pleased that young people and families can turn to the practitioner at the Hub for advice about any mental health or wellbeing concerns that they may have.

“The aim of the Hub is to make sure families get the right help before their difficulties become overwhelming. Some children will be more vulnerable as this outbreak continues with families facing a range of challenges such as managing a child’s needs or financial issues and I would urge any young people, their family or someone who is concerned about a child to get in touch with the Hub.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom