A TEAM dedicated to raising awareness of mental health problems affecting children and young people turn five this month.

As a result of their work, thousands of parents, carers and professionals now have a better understanding of children’s mental health.

Since its launch in February 2015, the child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) training team from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, has delivered training to over 6,000 parents, carers and professionals from across Teesside, on topics including anxiety, eating disorders and self-harm.

Mental health difficulties appear before mid-20s

According to research, 0.6 million children accessed NHS England mental health, learning disability and autism services in 2018/19, while a 2017 study found one in eight (12.8%) 5 to 19 year olds had at least one mental disorder.

Tracy Mitchell, CAMHS team manager said: “The first symptoms of mental health difficulties often appear before 24 years of age.

"We know that experiences in childhood can have a huge impact on our lives; affecting the relationships we form, our academic achievements and emotional resilience.

“It can be hard to spot when a child or young person is experiencing mental health problems as they often find it difficult to explain their feelings.”

CAMHS’ rolling training programme offers insight into problems faced by young people today along with strategies that allow parents and carers to better help children.

Delivering training in Tees Valley and onwards

Covering attachment, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and emotional wellbeing, the service has grown rapidly since its inception in Middlesbrough, now providing free mental health awareness sessions across the Tees Valley, including in Redcar and Cleveland, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees.

Schools have also benefited, with mental health first aid training for staff and specialist training for sports instructors.

Ms Mitchell said: “The sessions we deliver aim to increase knowledge and awareness of the tell-tale signs a young person may not be doing okay, as well as giving attendees the confidence to positively respond to situations they may encounter.

“Parents tell us they helped them see they are not alone and have given them the opportunity to start helping themselves and their family."