Shropshire Council

Mental and emotional health and wellbeing service

All children and young people will go through some big changes in their lives that can affect them both physically and mentally. Often we can forget how hard this can be for some children. Add in to the mix any additional needs or disability that a child may have and things can become difficult.

There are times when a child / young person may find themselves a little more fragile or vulnerable than others, such as during the move from one school to another, during puberty, if things change at home, or if there is a bereavement. There are many other times in a child/young person’s life when they might feel like they need some extra help or support. For those with additional needs and disabilities sometimes they need help more often, or sometimes they don't understand that they need help at all. This can be really challenging for their families and carers.

In Shropshire, we have a dedicated service called Bee-U that offers a variety of options to help children and young people when their mental health and emotional wellbeing may need some extra attention.

This service is a partnership of The Children’s Society, Kooth, Healios and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The range of support available includes online forums, online CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) service, drop-in sessions for young people, and specialist assessment and support via mental health practitioners, including crisis care management.

What are the signs of emotional or mental ill health?

There are many signs that could indicate a child or young person may need some extra help or support. The links on this page give more information.

If you feel your child needs some extra support or help you can try using one or more of the below early help and support services, or you could talk to your child’s doctor or SENCo (special educational needs coordinator) for advice and support in understanding the best way forward.

Why might a child or young person’s emotional and mental wellbeing change?

Many things can affect a person’s wellbeing. For children with additional needs and disabilities there are even more added complexities that can have an effect on how they feel. The links on this page give more information.

Supporting the Emotional Wellbeing of Children and Young People

There are many ways to support the emotional wellbeing of children and young people detailed in the bullets below. In light of the COVID-19 lockdown, there was a free on-line training session to highlight the importance of supporting the emotional well-being of children and young people. The training session explores the use of the Leuven Scales to assess children’s well-being and highlight the ‘Nurturing Principles’ and the importance of creating a safe physical and emotional environment to support their wellbeing.

Early help and support

If you're concerned that a child or young person is showing signs of emotional or mental ill health, you should in the first instance talk to school and your GP. By sharing your concerns with school, they may be able to offer some advice and support whilst also keeping an eye on things in the school environment.

Your GP is able to offer advice and support, but also can look at your child / young person in a more holistic way, using their medical history as background, and will be able to offer medical advice and support where appropriate. They may also be able to signpost/refer you on to services that could help further.

Children and young people can also visit the Bee-U website for information and online advice, including details of drop-in sessions delivered by the Children’s Society. Bee U is the emotional health and well-being service for people, up to the age of 25, living in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

To access further help and support, you can also contact the Young People and Families Mental Health Service on 0808 196 4501 who will be able to support you to access the right service for your needs.

If you want to look at ways that you can ‘self-support’ through areas of challenge or difficult times, the following services may be able to help and they don't require a referral;

  • The Children’s Society (known as BEAM) - you'll be able to access this service as a family, a parent carer or sibling, or as a child / young person (aged 5-18)
  • Kooth - providing one to one and group support via a social platform for children and young people aged 11-25

If at any point a child / young person or a family demonstrate a need for further help and support that can't be met by these service providers, they're able to refer on to the next level of help.

Diagnosis pathways

Your GP can diagnose and support a range of mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety. However, where it's evident that there are more complex needs, such as ADHD, autism, neurodevelopmental delay or learning difficulties they may decide to refer you on to a specialist. This is because there may be multiple factors that could influence and impact the diagnosis and treatment plan a child / young person needs, especially where mental health issues may be a symptom of a different condition, or could be affected by pre-existing conditions or disorders.

To access a targeted or specialist service you'll require a referral. A GP, health visitor, SENCo or any other professional supporting your family can complete a referral.

If you're seeking a diagnosis of autism or a related condition, you'll need to be referred to The Access Team (previously CAMHS). Please see our autism information pages for more information and advice.

Treatment pathways

Following assessment it may be recommended that your child requires ongoing treatment. This may include therapeutic care such as psychological therapies, family therapy, counselling, group work and on occasions may include pharmaceutical support. Your allocated clinician will coordinate and mange appointments and provide information regarding diagnosis and treatment.

The Bee-U service also provides an additional online treatment option provided by Healios. Access to Healios follows assessment by the NHS clinical team.

You should expect your needs to be monitored on an ongoing basis. This means that if you feel your family's or child / young person’s needs have changed you should tell your treating practitioner. They can then discuss with you whether a change to the treatment plan or further help is needed.

Crisis care management

If something happens and you find your family in a position of crisis, there is help available. Crisis can mean many things to many people, and in the more complex world of SEN and disability it can be a difficult place to be. If you feel that you need more help to support your family or child / young person please contact Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s 24/7 urgent helpline on 0808 196 4501. It is a mental health service offering telephone support, advice and triage. If there's significant risk of serious harm or injury please contact the police.

What is a crisis?

If for any reason you're unable to manage a situation at home and become unable to continue in your caring role, you may feel that you need immediate assistance to remedy the situation. In many cases there will need to be a referral and assessment into a specialist team to support your family. However, there may be times when the concerns are immediate and can't wait to be addressed.

These may include:

  • Immediate threat of violence to other family members
  • Actual violence to others
  • Self-harm that could endanger their life
  • Risk of suicide
  • Abusive behaviours (including physical, mental, and sexual abuse)

If this happens, you can contact our 24/7 urgent helpline on 0808 196 4501, or if there's significant risk of serious harm or injury please contact the police. You may also be referred to our safeguarding team.

It might seem like a rather difficult choice to make, but at times contacting the police is the best option. They're trained to deal with situations where there's an immediate threat of danger, as well as those involving the complex needs of the individual concerned.

When else might a crisis occur?

Some circumstances may not involve immediate danger or threat, but for families this may be a crisis point. These may include:

  • Significant personal health changes for carers, such as hospitalisation or long term illness (eg cancer, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease)
  • Significant and unforeseen care needs of other family members
  • Child / young person’s needs become too much for the parent carer / carer to manage daily

In these circumstances your needs would be assessed on a case-by-case basis. This may mean that emergency mental health support could be offered to the child / young person to help deal with these changes in the short term while longer term arrangements are organised. Alternatively, it could mean that you're referred to a targeted or specialist service immediately for long-term support, which may also include more than just mental health and emotional wellbeing support. This could include using our Short Breaks, Disabled Children’s Team, or Early Help services.