Mental health charity to launch children’s service

Jami says it is experiencing growing demand among young people struggling with their mental wellbeing


The community’s leading mental health charity is to launch services for children amid a growing demand among young people struggling with their mental wellbeing.

Jami has announced that a pilot scheme in January will support those aged 11 and upwards.

It recognised that “any parent whose child needs mental health services likely knows the pain of navigating statutory services, long waiting lists for public or private treatment and the fear and anxiety that comes with becoming a carer of a person with mental illness”.

Chief executive Laurie Rackind said the charity had noticed an increase in parents using its support services because a young family member was dealing with a mental health issue.

Statistics suggest that one in nine children aged five to 15 has a diagnosable mental illness. This rises to one in seven in the 11 to 16 bracket.

Half of all mental health problems are established by the age of 14.

Jami believes that “prompt access to appropriate support” is crucial for young people experiencing mental health difficulties to “maximise their chances for a healthy and happy life”.

Its pilot programme will incorporate treatment, therapy, education, advocacy and carer and family support.

“NHS children’s services are overwhelmed,” Mr Rackind noted. “We already deliver a class-leading adult community mental health service that we must now expand to meet the rising mental health demands of our children and young people.

“The pandemic has only added to the need for greater mental health support.

By creating a dedicated service for children now, we are preparing a mentally healthier community in the future.” He added that young people were often better at acknowledging their mental health struggles than adults. But the community needed to catch up in terms of providing support where needed.

Jami will engage with schools and other communal organisations serving young people, including Norwood, Camp Simcha and Noa Girls.

“We want to work with schools to up-skill staff and be able to confidentially identify when children might be unwell,” Mr Rackind explained.

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