Evidence is mounting that the Covid-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the mental health of our children. The University of Oxford Co-SPACE (Covid-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents and Children in Epidemics) survey has been collecting data from parents since April 2020 and reports increased stress across all areas. Parents also expressed a desire for personalised support from professionals, particularly around their child’s emotional well-being.
With a 35% increase in child mental health concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is now an urgent need for tailored advice and support.
We want to build on the excellent service we already provide, by offering families a 45 minute one-to-one consultation with a qualified child Mental Health Practitioner. Local schools and GP's will signpost families, who will then be able to contact us via our website or telephone helpline.
The project will provide practical advice and tools to support children who are showing early signs of distress, for example, when returning to school after time out due to Covid-19, struggling to manage change and emotions and not coping with, or feeling overwhelmed by, anxiety.
We want to raise £50k to cover the cost of employing a Mental Health Practitioner and Administrator for 12 months, to deliver 600 one-to-one consultations. This will also cover operational costs such as insurance, printing and publicity, Zoom subscription, purchase of a lap-top and a telephone helpline.
ABOUT STANDING IN THE GAP:
A lack of early intervention child mental health services is putting children at risk of developing more serious problems over time, many of which can be avoided with the right support early on.
The last 10 years has seen a big decline in support for families through the loss of local children’s centres and Early Intervention services. The waiting time for Child and Adolescent Mental health services (CAMHS) is now over a year.
Founded in 2017, we are an early intervention child mental health charity, helping pre-school and primary school children manage big emotions, such as fear, anxiety and anger. We help families in the Banbury and wider Oxfordshire area.
Standing in the Gap bridges the gap in current provision with a programme of evidence-based workshops and resources, designed and facilitated by an experienced Mental Health Practitioner. We cannot prevent life events from happening to families, but we can equip them to work through them.
Families currently benefit from our popular ‘Managing the Wibbles and Wobbles of Anxiety’ workshops, which have been recommended by local GP's, School Health Nurses, Teachers and Child Mental Health professionals. We also help children prepare for big life transitions and have recently increased our free online resources in response to Covid-19. (see www.sitgap.org)
We are currently delivering our sessions virtually, which has widened our reach.
Comments from those who have attended our workshops include:
"Lots of really useful information in a format my ten year old could understand along with practical tips I can use to support him with his anxiety"
“I feel a lot less worried now after attending your workshop”
“As a parent/teacher whose own child has been through CAMHS for anxiety I found this really useful. Thank you”
“Really useful on children's mental health in general. We have been looking for support for a while not knowing where to go. We will definitely use your resources and recommend you to other parents”
“Really informative and makes you rethink how you speak to your children”
"Fab on early anxiety info, there is not much else on offer so really pleased these are running"
THE STANDING IN THE GAP TEAM:
We have an enthusiastic and hard-working trustee executive board who support the evaluation, governance and financial management of the charity.
One-to-one consultations will be carried out by our Clinical Director / Mental Health Practitioner Sam Game (MSc CAMH, BSc (Hons) RGN, BSc (Hons) SCPHN, RHV). Sam has a national reputation around child mental health. She has worked with children and families for nearly 20 years and written and delivered professional training around early intervention in respect of children’s mental health. Sam has worked as our volunteer Clinical Director for three years. We would like to employ Sam to deliver the one-to-one consultations going forward.
In June 2019 Sam received a national award from the Journal of Health Visiting for Innovations in Health Visiting relating to child mental health, which included her work with Standing in the Gap.
We also have a group of volunteers who offer their expertise around fundraising, communications and marketing, legal compliance, admin and IT support.
With no end in sight to the Covid-19 crisis, it is critical that struggling children have access to the right support now. We are passionate about the early intervention agenda and equipping families to prevent longer-term problems.
We know these are difficult times for everyone and thank you for supporting .