The challenges of school closures, disruption and isolation throughout the pandemic have impacted on the mental health in many children and young people.
But Torbay Children’s Services are marking Children’s Mental Health Week this week to show they are there to help some of the most vulnerable young people in the local community.
They are sharing some of the valuable work happening across the Bay supporting young people who may need help.
Nationally, in the last three years, the likelihood of young people having mental health problems has increased by 50 per cent and Torbay is no exception.
Fifty-eight per cent of 'care experienced' young people across Torbay told the service through joint work it did with CORAM VOICE in April 2021, that a number were more likely to report feeling lonely ‘often or always’ (19 per cent); 22 per cent found it hard to feel proud, 21 per cent found it hard to feel optimistic and about a third reported high levels of anxiety.
Torbay Council says this is concerning, but there were a lot of positive responses with 99 per cent saying that they have someone in their lives who they could turn to for emotional support and 90 per cent said they trusted their Personal Advisor.
The council says: "We are working with Family Action Listening Works to enable our young people to have access to an out of hours helpline for care experienced young people, who may be feeling lonely, scared, angry or isolated, and to provide immediate emotional support when they need it."
Torbay Children’s Services have also introduced an Act of Kindness and Celebrating Achievement nomination scheme, to help cared for and care experienced young people celebrate and recognise those smaller acts of kindness for moments which they should feel proud.
The services have also continued to keep in touch with cared for children and cared experienced adults through regular communication, by letter, email, and other forms of social media; this includes the postcard sent to children, families and carers, and a letter sent to all of cared experienced adults, signposting them to mental health resources.
Cordelia Law, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Torbay Council, said: "Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people plays an intrinsic role as we continue on our journey to become a more 'Child Friendly Torbay.'.
"We work closely with members of our cared for community to ensure we have a joined-up approach when it comes to supporting every child’s needs.”
The services are currently looking for a wide range of new foster carers to join the Torbay fostering family network and care for local, vulnerable children who are unable to live with their birth families. Torbay foster carers are financially supported with an allowance to meet the needs of the foster child and receive training and ongoing support from a dedicated fostering Social Worker and an experienced foster carer as a mentor.
The council says: "This is the perfect time to make a positive life change with child fostering if you are considering a new work/life balance. If you have flexible working hours, a spare room, and a kind heart, you could become Torbay foster carer." If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with Torbay Children’s Services. Telephone: 01803 207845 Email: email@example.com
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