Giving young people in Newham a HeadStart with innovative mental health programme

8 December 2017 in Health and Young people
Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP for North Norfolk visited two schools in Newham to meet with young people who are shaping and taking part in an ambitious programme aiming to improve resilience and wellbeing in young people. ​
Delivered in partnership with the London Borough of Newham and funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, the HeadStart programme is a preventative early help service working with 10-16 year olds with emerging mental health difficulties.

He met with students, staff and parents at Southern Road Primary School and Lister Community School who were taking part in HeadStart sessions.

Mr Lamb has a proactive interest in mental health and wellbeing and chairs the Science and Technology Select Committee which aims to drive improvements in mental health provision.

He said: “It’s great to see young people taking the lead in improving their mental health. Headstart Newham is a brilliant National Lottery funded initiative. It gives students, along with their parents and teachers, the opportunity to shape solutions to the challenges they face – and engage with the most pressing issue of day: improving adolescent mental health.”

By working with younger children the programme aims to see a reduction in mental health disorders among teenagers and young adults, as well as improved school attainment and attendance.

HeadStart Newham has already trained 1,644 of the borough’s school staff to identify pupils who could benefit from additional support to improve resilience.

The training helps staff to spot the early signs of problems, provide them with the  tools to support young people and signpost them to where they can find more specialised help.

So far, 29 schools have benefitted from the service and almost 500 young people have taken part in at least one HeadStart targeted intervention to build their wellbeing and resilience. The programme has also worked with more than 130 parents who have taken part in parenting courses.

Sir Robin Wales said: “With mental health issues estimated to affect one in ten young people nationally, effective programmes are extremely important. We want to ensure that we support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, as they grow up, as well as their physical health.”