More emotional support now available for children and young people in Cumbria

Children and young people in Cumbria with mild to moderate mental health issues will have access to more support, thanks to new investment in this area.


Children and Young Peoples Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (CYPIAPT) is a national programme which Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has fully signed up to. It aims to support and help children and young people with issues such as depression and anxiety.


This is part of the whole system approach, which aims to give children and young people access the support they need to achieve emotional wellbeing and mental health.  Partners in the health, social care, education and third sector are working together towards this vision.


Previously, there was no such support in Cumbria. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is a ‘Tier 3’ service, which means that it is commissioned to support those with the most serious mental health issues, which clearly left a gap in the support available. Thanks to this programme and investment from Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, NHS England, Barnardos and Action for Children, IAPT fills that gap.


In addition to the investment for support of mild to moderate mental health issues, there has also been further support in staffing and training for staff who work with youngsters with more serious and complex mental health needs.


Since 1st January, IAPT support has been delivered by staff within the CAMHS teams. It is not a separate service, more an extension of the current CAMHS provision. CAMHS practitioners have received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) training, which gives clinicians more tools to work with.


Sara Munro, Director for Quality and Nursing and deputy CEO said: “The CYPIAPT programme is giving clinicians at all levels the tools to ensure youngsters are given the most appropriate service for their needs in a more timely way. It also ensures that the improvements are measurable so can be used to continually improve and develop services where the need is greatest for our county’s children. In addition, specific training in working with families of youngsters who have eating disorders means than for the first time in Cumbria we can support those with eating disorders and their families.” 


As well as working directly with children, the CYPIAPT investment is also being used to deliver a Parent Training Programme. This has enabled the CAMHS, Barnardos and Action for Children teams to help parents understand how they can support their children to deal with their mental health conditions. Supporting in this way will help progress the recovery for the youngster and help the young person have the confidence to use the tools to manage their condition.


Sara adds: “We want children and young people to be involved in shaping the future of services for those with mental health issues. We are currently working on setting up a series of service user groups across the county.”


Sixteen year old Casey* from Barrow has received CYPIAPT support. Here is her story:

Following the passing of her grandmother, some family relationships became strained, leaving Casey feeling like she was stuck in the middle. She was also about to start her GCSEs so this was a very stressful time in her life. Her emotions got too much for her and she started to struggle with day to day activities. It was then that her Mum decided to take her to see her GP.

After Casey explained to her GP how she was feeling, her GP told her about CAMHS and said he would refer Casey to the service.


Casey received her initial appointment within 6 weeks, and at this appointment it was identified that Casey was low risk, so it suggested that Casey see Becky, a CAMHS practitioner who was receiving received the CYPIAPT training.   


Casey saw Becky on a weekly basis for six months.   


At first, Casey found it difficult to talk about her concerns herself and would let her mum do most of the talking for her, but after a few sessions, Casey grew in confidence and opened up to Becky.


As part of their sessions Casey would describe how her week had gone and if there had been any problems. Using a mind map, Becky and Casey would drill down to the root cause of the problems; from this they discovered the main cause of Casey’s emotional struggles was her confidence.


Due to the weekly sessions, Casey was able to confidently sit her GCSEs and gained 7 in total.

Casey said: 
“I don’t think I would have even been able to go into the exam hall, if I hadn’t of had my sessions with Becky.”


Becky had equipped Casey with a number of coping mechanisms to prepare her for the sessions coming to an end. One of the coping mechanisms included Casey writing down onto cards the initial problems she had come to the service with and how she had overcome them, then if she felt like she was slipping back she could read them to see how far she had come.


Casey said: “I didn’t have any concerns about being discharged; Becky reassured me that if I ever did need help in the future, the service would be there to support me.”


Casey has now been discharged from services and is doing well. 


*This name has been changed to protect the anonymity of the young person involved.