Children’s mental health services in Suffolk set for £6million boost

Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House

Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House - Credit: Archant

Children’s mental health services could take a huge step forward in the coming years with the introduction of a new transformation plan.

Cllr Michael Ladd who chaired the Health Scrutiny Committee

Cllr Michael Ladd who chaired the Health Scrutiny Committee - Credit: Archant

NHS England has awarded £6million over five years to the project which aims to take a “once in a generation chance” to improve the lives of young people in Suffolk, according to the plan.

The initiative was presented to Suffolk County Council’s health scrutiny committee today and is part of an agreement between the authority and the West Suffolk, and Ipswich and East Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

Within it are proposals to create a single point of access for young people and their families into emotional health services, establishing a 24/7 crisis care service and better involving schools in identifying and helping children who need more support.

The report says around 34,500 children in Suffolk have a mental health need and on average nearly a quarter of children in each classroom have a mental health need.

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John Hague, mental health lead for the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, said: “The agreement of this transformation plan is a significant step forward and enables us to begin to make changes that are needed to improve services.

“It has been created through extensive input from service users and their families as well as health commissioners.”

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Part of the plan includes a £225,000 fund administered by Suffolk Community Foundation for voluntary organisations which are working towards improving the emotional wellbeing of young people in Suffolk.

Some of the plan’s 10 priorities for change include increasing support for young people with eating disorders, developing a pilot for perinatal mental health care and, where appropriate, extending the age limit of services from 18 to 25, improving the transition to adult services.

Chairing the committee meeting, which took place at Ipswich Hospital yesterday, councillor Michael Ladd said in summary: “We are all very conscious it is a complex system.

“There is a huge appetite to work together on this.”

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