An innovative project aiming to support young people in Buckinghamshire who have self-harmed, and assist schools in helping pupils at risk of doing so, is in the running to win two prestigious health sector awards later this month.
The Young Person’s Self Harm service, pioneered by NHS Chiltern and NHS Ayesbury Vale Clinical Commissioning Groups, has been recognised by the Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards in the categories Commissioning in Mental Health and Innovation in Child, Adolescent and Young’s Mental Health.
The project has seen innovations in two areas. Firstly, in the training and advice given to most secondary schools across Buckinghamshire to help teachers and staff members identify and deal with both potential and actual cases of self-harm. A self-harm advice resource pack has been distributed to schools, and offers advice, guidance, information and even a flowchart of actions for staff to take if confronted with certain scenarios. Feedback from schools on the usefulness of the information pack has so far been overwhelmingly positive.
Also, the way young people who have self-harmed are dealt with on admission to A&E has been altered to ensure they are assessed by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services at the first opportunity, by telephone if necessary, which may not previously have been the case.
This is intended to put more emphasis on their psychological well-being as well as any physical injury or complaint they may have experienced. It will also avoid unnecessary and inappropriate hospital admissions.
Leading the project is Dr Dal Sahota, Chiltern CCG’s Director for Children, who said: “Being shortlisted for national awards like these really helps to affirm the value of the work we have put into this project.
“Our school information pack is genuinely a groundbreaking innovation; one we hope could be adopted elsewhere across the country. We hope it will help prevent cases of self-harm and assist in giving young people the support they need during what may be very difficult times. At the same time, our refreshed approach to the way youngsters with self-harm injuries are treated in Bucks’ hospitals will focus far more on their psychological sense of well-being than has perhaps been the case in the past.”
Youngsters aged between 16-17 year olds can contact the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services on 01865 902515 (Mon – Fri, 9am-5pm) if they have concerns over anxiety, stress or other emotional issues.
The awards ceremony takes place in Newcastle on 14 October.