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20 April 2016

Children’s mental well-being top of agenda at conference for Cumbrian schools

little girl

The “Mental Wellbeing of Children and Young People in Schools - Cumbria” conference is being organised by Cumbria’s Multi-Agency Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Partnership, a grouping that brings together a wide range of organisation working with children and young people including schools, the county council, local NHS and the Local Safeguarding Children Board.

 The aims of the conference are to help schools see how they fit into the new “whole-system” approach to the emotional and mental wellbeing of children and young people that is being developed in Cumbria and build their understanding of the crucial role schools play in supporting their pupils. The conference is also an opportunity to show schools where they can get support to help them with their role and to celebrate good practice from across the county.

 Delegates will hear from a range of speakers including children and young people themselves who will be presenting recommendations for improving mental health support systems in schools and taking part in panel discussions. There will also be a range of workshops in the afternoon focusing on things like: mindfulness; psychodrama in schools; and supporting the emotional wellbeing of young children before the age of five.

 The day will also see the launch of Cumbria’s new Children and Young People’s Plan by John Macilwraith, Director of Children’s Services for Cumbria County Council (available online from Wednesday). The plan is the single overarching document which sets the strategic focus for all agencies in Cumbria working with Children. The plan has three priority areas around health, safety and education, with a particular focus on ensuring the next generation of Cumbrian’s will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that will come with the predicted £25bn pound of inward investment into Cumbria in coming years.

 John Macilwraith said:

“It’s a packed agenda for the conference and I’m sure schools are going get a lot out the day. It’s great that we have a mix of professionals and young people speaking and sharing their views and experiences. In Cumbria we’re really pushing forward with this new approach to ensuring children and young people get the support they need - moving away from multiple different agencies all looking at part of the picture to having a truly joined up system that makes sense and meets children and young people’s needs. It’s genuinely exciting to see the progress that is being made and the practical difference it is making.”

 Steve Wilkinson, Executive Headteacher of The Queen Katherine School Multi-Acadmy Trust and Chair of the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Heath Partnership for Cumbria , said: “ I am absolutely delighted to have been asked to co-open this important Conference with Lucia.  We are bringing together over 200 delegates from a range of services providing important support for young people in Cumbria.  The last two years have seen major improvements in our multi-agency approach at a time of ever increasing demand for the services being offered.  At all Tiers we have increased capacity and improved training.  The conference will allow a chance to showcase these successes as well as explore some really important areas of further challenge"

 Lucia Harrington, Member of South Lakes Youth Council, said:

This conference is a fantastic opportunity for schools to learn more about the support they can provide for their students. Mental health is important as it is the foundation of well-being. There are so many people who have been working to improve the amount of support available for young people and now it’s time to let more people know about the work that's been done."

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With the mental well-being of children and young people increasingly in the spotlight, local schools are set to find out more about what�s going on in Cumbria to ensure children get the support they need.