13 July 2015

First Take Production Company & MYA trial new approach to child mental health issues

Merseyside Youth Association (MYA), working in partnership with production company, First Take is trialling a new approach to tackling stigma associated with mental health whilst building resilience in local young people.

Funded by the NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (LCCG), the project has been developed in partnership with two local schools. Using a survey, children from these schools shared their personal experiences of what makes them feel good about themselves, as well as examples of situations that make them feel uncomfortable – instances that may cause mental health problems or difficulties.

Working with ten of these young people in each school, a series of eight short films were then created illustrating five key scenarios; mental health and resilience; coping with being under pressure; dealing with anger and paranoia; and image, anxiety and depression.

Postcards featuring images taken from the films have been created and distributed to children in Sacred Heart Primary School, Liverpool and Enterprise South Liverpool Academy (ELSA).  The films can be accessed on mobile devices by scanning the cards.

Kath Thompson, the mental health promotion worker at Merseyside Youth Association explained: “The aim of this initiative is to ensure children realise they’re not alone when they experience feelings such as anxiety, or low self-esteem, whilst educating them on how they can deal with these emotions or where to go to for help. In Liverpool we have a partnership of organizations working together under umbrella of CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), but many people don’t realise that these services are out there for them to use. The hope is that projects like this one will make people aware of where they can go for help if they need it.”

The films also focus on the NHS five ways to improving mental wellbeing; connecting with people around you; being active; keep learning; giving to others; and being mindful about the present moment.

Director of First Take, Lynne Harwood explains: “It has been a great project working in both schools with the young people who have come up with the ideas that we made into films.  It is the first of its kind in the UK and we’re confident that by using mobile technology it will get the crucial content out there in an exciting and accessible way.”

This is just one of many initiatives MYA is developing as part of the Liverpool CAMHS partnership (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). If the trial is successful the initiative will be rolled out to children and young people’s services across Liverpool.

You can find out more about CAMHS in Liverpool, including access to a range of free training, throughout our site.