Camden prioritises mental wellbeing through £750k support fund

Camden Council has announced a bold and wide-ranging programme to address the impact of mental ill health on its residents.

The ‘Healthy Minds’ programme will be a pioneering and targeted response to the mental health challenge Britain faces.

In Camden, estimates indicate that over 35,000 people have a common mental health problem. Camden also has the third highest serious mental illness prevalence and seventh highest depression prevalence in London.

The new £750,000 programme is co-funded by the Council and the Camden Clinical Commissioning Group and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council
“Mental health issues often affect our most vulnerable people – those who are socially isolated, our young people, residents with disabilities and those dealing with major changes in their lives, including parenthood. 

“Our fresh and comprehensive approach proves we are committed to treating all mental health issues, and to making Camden a place where everyone has the chance to succeed and no-one gets left behind.”

Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council

The programme’s priorities are to:

  • Support parents before and after their child’s birth. It will particularly focus on building resilience in women and their partners, who are vulnerable or at greater risk of developing mental health conditions, to help give their child the best start in life (£260,000).
  • Work with the voluntary sector to improve the wellbeing of people whose mental health is at risk. The key focus will be to prevent mental health issues developing and to reduce dependency on statutory support through encouraging volunteering and involvement in community activities (£380,000).
  • Support young people at risk of developing mental health conditions (£40,000).
  • Promote wellbeing at work (£70,000).

Further details about the different aspects of the ‘Healthy Minds’ programme are below.

Community perinatal support (£260k)

The Camden Healthy Minds Fund is supporting the First 1001 Day Programme through early, evidence-based interventions for parents-to-be and new parents, supporting greater confidence and positive parenting skills with their new born, as the cornerstone of early parent-child attachment and bonding and its long term impact on resilience and longer term outcomes. Funding is targeted across two strands:

  1. “Preparation for Parenthood Service” (153k) –This new service aims to promote effective support for parents around sensitive parenting and attachment and to help parents-to-be to manage the transition. The Preparation for Parenthood Service will be delivered by children’s centre staff, health visitors, midwives and partner organisations with the overall aim to reduce inequality and improve outcomes for young children and their families in Camden. Starting in August 2016, in its first year the service will support at least 100 families to complete the intervention programme.
  2. “Relationship support for vulnerable parents” (£107k) - This new service will deliver relationship support to vulnerable parents during the antenatal period to promote strong couple relationships and the best possible environment for a new baby. This will be supported through training staff in Children’s Centres to identify parents with risk factors around their relationships and mental health.

Individual and community resilience (£380k)

This innovative voluntary sector partnership will look to promote improved levels of wellbeing and reduce dependency on statutory support through a Resilience Network. It is aimed at people whose mental health is at risk to prevent mental ill health developing and to support people as early as possible to prevent progression or to promote sustained recovery. It will work with people that are below the threshold for specialist mental health services and will be targeted to communities with higher levels of deprivation and groups that are less likely to engage in formal services. Support will include development of tailored peer support, volunteering opportunities and employment support, and include access to a range of activities that promote mental and physical wellbeing. Specifically, the service will aim to deliver:

  • Improved access to early help for 300 people at risk of increased mental health problems per year;
  • Increased access to community activities for 600 people per year;
  • 150 people per year to volunteer regularly; and
  • Over 100 people per year to benefit from new forms of peer support.

This service is currently out to tender and will be awarded in autumn 2017.

Promoting Wellbeing in the Workplace (£70k)

This project aims to ensure that employers in Camden, including the Council, understand the benefits of promoting health and wellbeing amongst their workforce and reap the benefits of having healthy engaged staff. We are working with the Business Disability Forum to set up a Camden Ability Network that will promote “disability smartness” with Camden employers. 

Proposed support for young people at risk of mental health conditions (£40k)

This project will provide support to key organisations to better identify and support young people at risk of mental health conditions and will complement the Open Minded service offer. This recognises that the majority of lifetime mental health needs first occur in childhood or adolescence and there is a significant increase in mental health needs between the ages of 11-16. 

The project will include providing all primary and secondary schools with the Take Ten programme. TakeTen is a new system that has been developed specifically for teachers and pupils to enhance their emotional health and wellbeing. The programme achieves strong outcomes around improved concentration, behaviour, performance and results and trains children, young people and adults to control the way their bodies deal with stress. The programme includes a Biofeedback heart monitoring system to recognise young people that are feeling heightened levels of stress and anxiety and to address these early. Funding will be used to purchase the equipment necessary and we will seek to embed this within the programme at schools. A number of schools have already come forwards to pilot this work which will start in September 2016. 

In addition, a need has been identified to deliver a new training programme around the mental health needs of young people that will be delivered in youth settings, schools and colleges to professionals that work with young people on a daily basis.