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New £6m funding supports young people’s emotional wellbeing in Suffolk

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The determination of local health and social care providers in east and west Suffolk to improve young people’s emotional wellbeing services has resulted in an award of £6 million, over the next five years.

Suffolk’s successful bid for extra funding from NHS England follows a pledge earlier this year by the Chancellor to commit more money to young people’s emotional wellbeing services. Each area in the country was invited to submit bids for funding as well as plans outlining how services would be transformed.

The success of the bid highlights the strong multi-agency commitment and robust transformation plans of the local authority, clinical commissioning groups and health and social care partners who worked together on securing this funding. The award will enable the introduction of major improvements to services which support children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing. This will lead to fundamental changes to the quality and effectiveness of services for children, young people and their families.

These include the development of a new single point of access and assessment for children’s emotional health, wellbeing and behaviour referrals so that help can be provided more quickly and by the most appropriate service; a shift in focus so that support is given to the whole family rather than only the child or young person, and a much greater use of technology and digital-based therapies. Councillor Alan Murray, chairman of Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board said: “This additional funding will have a positive impact on the lives of our children and young people. Locally and nationally demand is increasing for mental health services and it is our fundamental belief that effective help should be provided as early as possible.

“The key areas of focus will be to simplify how services can be accessed, with a family approach, and provide the right support at the right time and in the right place. By enabling speedy access to services it means we can address mental health and behaviour issues earlier, reducing the need for intervention later on so that people can get on with their lives. We will also see the introduction of a specialist community based county- wide eating disorder service.

“We know that mental health is a big issue for our young people. Growing up has always been difficult. However, today there are additional pressures such as cyber bullying, which can have an adverse effect on mental wellbeing.

“It is particularly pleasing that this bid for new money has been successful. It highlights the hard work and commitment of everyone involved in commissioning and delivering services, as well as the importance of a multi-agency approach that puts young people at the heart of our plans.”

Dr John Hague, mental health clinical lead for the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is excellent news and these transformation plans are a concrete example of how the whole system is working together for the benefit of those people who need young people’s emotional wellbeing services.”

The successful submission by the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, in partnership with Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Constabulary, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, school representatives, young people and the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, will enable a focussed multi-agency approach to making services the best they can be.