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Camden Council pledges to put mental health at forefront of agenda for young people living in borough

PUBLISHED: 10:10 29 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:10 29 March 2017

Camden Council has committed to putting mental health issues at the top of its agenda for adolescents living in the borough. Credit: Marjan Apostolovic

Camden Council has committed to putting mental health issues at the top of its agenda for adolescents living in the borough. Credit: Marjan Apostolovic

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Camden Council has pledged to keep the subject of mental health at the forefront of the agenda in its bid to improve the wellbeing of young people living in the borough.

Frognal and Fitzjohns Cllr Siobhan Baillie is chairing the review on mental health.Frognal and Fitzjohns Cllr Siobhan Baillie is chairing the review on mental health.

The need for the review was identified during a scrutiny report last year which found that mental health problems in adolescents were a contributing factor to lower achievement in secondary schools.

A report issued by the children, schools and families scrutiny committee discovered that an estimated 40 per cent of children aged between 11 and 18 living in Camden are affected by emotional disorders such as anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The study also found that an estimated 64 per cent of adolescents across the borough are affected by conduct disorders such as physical and verbal aggression.

Frognal and Fitzjohns Cllr Siobhan Baillie, who is chairing the review panel, said: “If we get things right as a council we can change the outcomes of young people who are struggling to know how to cope with day to day struggles.

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“We will be banging the drum to improve communication about this issue. We need to find a way of reaching more people.”

As a result of the second part of the review, which involved gathering evidence from young people, youth workers and parents, the council has highlighted several areas in which it can improve.

The council is bidding to tackle stigma around the subject, increase the prevention and early intervention of mental health issues and improve the knowledge and skills of staff in front line services, such as teachers.

Cllr Baillie added: “Some teachers are nervous about talking about mental health issues, but hopefully this review can give them more confidence.

“We have also had several parents asking us what can be done at home.”

In the council report Parliament Hill School is lauded as a ‘good example of a comprehensive level of provision of mental health support for its pupils’.

The school employs a wellbeing manager – who supervises four trainee therapists – to help students struggling with mental health issues.

St Anthony’s School for Girls is another institution which has been placing a greater emphasis on the mental health of its students, with ‘mindfulness’ classes starting earlier this year.

There will also be a council drive to make out of hours support for children in crisis more accessible and to address the mental health needs of university students.

The council is also working on creating a website which will give accessible information to young people on the subject of mental health.

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