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Public Health focus on healthier and happier children and young people

by Gemma Melling

Healthier, happier children and young people is the theme for Knowsley’s Public Health annual report 2017/18.

This year, the report is presented in a video format, featuring children and young people in Knowsley talking about their own feelings around mental health and wellbeing, how they deal with issues such as worrying, along with the support available in Knowsley.

There are many factors impacting on a person’s mental health – from poor living conditions, challenging home environments, being a carer or not being in education, training or employment.  The most common problems relate to anxiety, depression, behaviour issues or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Creating the right environment is key for children and young people to be able to talk about their feelings and emotions.

A number of initiatives have been developed in Knowsley to support children and young people around the important issue of mental health.

These include a ‘Listen Up’ project which is working with up to 70 young people who are exploring and sharing their experiences around mental health through the creation of comics.  In addition, a range of leisure and culture activities are available across the borough, and Emotional First Aid training is being delivered to people who work with children and young people, to improve their understanding of how to respond to the emotional needs of children and young people.  A programme has also been developed to support children and their parents when they move from primary to secondary school.

Key priorities over the next two years include the continuation of partnership working with organisations and schools to develop joint plans tailored to the needs of children, young people and their families; supporting schools to provide social and emotional learning environments; and ensuring staff are equipped with the skills and knowledge to support children and young people.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Wellbeing and Customer Services, said “I hope that by watching our film, it’s clear that everyone has a responsibility to create environments that promote and support the emotional wellbeing of our children and young people. With our help, they can develop the skills and confidence to share their feelings and emotions, seek support if needed and go on to flourish into adulthood.”

As well as the video, you can download a short summary of the report.