SELFA, a local charity supporting children and young people in Skipton and Craven, has secured £85,000 in funding to boost children’s mental health support in the region.
The funding follows the publication of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health in Rural Craven report, which identified a lack of accessible mental health services in the area. A key finding from the report highlighted the need to strengthen community support in rural areas through building peer support networks, both for the young people themselves and for the adults supporting them.
Emma Pears, one of West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership’s health equity fellows, report author and SELFA’s Chief Officer, commented: “Many children and young people who live in rural areas like the Yorkshire Dales will only be offered a mental health service if they can travel, or the alternative is to receive support over the phone or on a video call, whereas a child who lives in a town like Harrogate or Keighley will be offered a face-to-face service close to where they live.”
SELFA is to use the funding to set up peer support groups for children and young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties, as well as their parents and carers. Projects are set to begin in early 2023.
An annual face-to-face mental health event will also be held for young people with lived experience of mental health issues to come together with professions from across the education, health, social care and voluntary sectors.
The research is part of West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board’s Improving Population Health Fellowship and provides support to the Health Inequalities Academy, aiming to “build knowledge, skills and courage to build more equitable organisations and communities”.