Northamptonshire health groups and the county council have teamed up to launch a website devoted to supporting the wellbeing and mental health of youngsters in the county.
The Northamptonshire Young Healthy Minds Partnership is a joint initiative between the NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Corby CCG and Northamptonshire County Council.
Its new website is called Ask Normen and is aimed at young people and at parents, professionals, other people working with children.
It contains information on emotional wellbeing and mental health needs and conditions, local services and support material.
The Young Healthy Minds Partnership aims for early intervention, based on a recent finding which identified stress as the
number one negative effect on the mental health of young people in Northamptonshire – something which can often be dealth with via low-level intervention if tackled early.
The partnership has identified the top five factors associated with stress as difficulties at home, relationships with peers, bullying, school and exam pressure and general stresses of life.
The majority of children and young adult respondents were worried about body image, and thought that low mood and depression are common place.
A significant majority believe there is a rise in mood swings and a lack of self-control, with a majority believing self-harm is increasingly used as a way to cope with stress – including an increase in life-threatening self-harm. Young people also felt that there is more work to do around supporting young people to feel more comfortable about issues of sexuality and alcohol or substance misuse.
David Loyd-Hearn, from NHS Northamptonshire, said: “Prevention and early intervention to promote good mental health is key to improving the potential for young people to attain better emotional, social, physical health and economic outcomes later in life.
“We know that 50 per cent of lifelong mental health issues start before the age of 14, and that one in 10 children and young people are affected with emotional wellbeing and mental health issues, increasing to one in four in adulthood.
“We are delighted to be able to announce the launch of the Ask Normen website – by working together we aim to ensure children and young people are happy, healthy, safe and resilient, enabling a positive transition into adulthood.”
He also said people can email to suggest other issues, organisations or resources the website should focus on.