West Berkshire Council

Richard Benyon MP praises Emotional Health Academy

A unique West Berkshire scheme is helping to prevent hundreds of young people from developing mental health issues.

Emotional Health Academy logo with children montage pics

Issued on: 10 November 2017

The Emotional Health Academy (EHA) is spearheaded by West Berkshire Council's Children and Families service working with voluntary sector partners, Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, Berkshire Health Foundation Trust, schools and GPs.

MP Richard Benyon saw video accounts from young people speaking frankly about how the EHA has changed their perspective and enabled them to cope with issues that were causing them stress and anxiety. He then sat in on the regular weekly meeting to gain an understanding of how the EHA works.

The EHA is not a building, but the name for a network of professionals with professional training and skills. These professionals work with young people and families to provide early, quick, responsive support. They also work closely with schools, GPs, children's centres, the police and other organisations.

Many of the existing ways to get help with issues around emotional health are under pressure, and services are understandably slow to respond as a result. The Emotional Health Academy helps to join people up with the things they need more quickly and at an earlier stage, before problems get worse. It's not designed to replace existing services, but to work alongside them.

Lynne Doherty, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Children and Young People said, "From the simplest of concepts, we are achieving the most remarkable results. The starting point was to take time to listen to our children and to place ourselves in locations that they had told us they would feel safe to speak such as schools and other community locations. The intervention is very quick and because we're able to help when most needed, the high percentage of improvement that the children and their families show reflects this."

Since 2016 the EHA has reached over 1000 children and young people via individual, group and classroom settings. 80% of those children and young people who received therapeutic support reported marked improvement in their wellbeing. Many of the children the EHA help are anxious about pressures at school, issues their friends may be facing and simply fitting in.

Richard Benyon MP said: "So many children experiencing stress is a very sad product of our times. The complexity of life and the demands that are placed on children can be difficult for them to cope with. Social media also adds a relentless pressure that can take a toll on young people.

"Watching these children speak about how the EHA has helped them was a really powerful experience. We have been calling for this type of intervention for over 20 years, and it is working right here in West Berkshire. It is rightly attracting attention UK wide and beyond as others look to create their own EHA's. It is something that we should be hugely proud of and I would like to see it happening absolutely everywhere."

Getting help from the EHA

Young people (aged between 11 and 19) in need of help can get in touch using our online form.

Parents, guardians, teachers or professionals with concerns about a young person with emerging emotional health issues should visit our referrals webpage.

Find more information on the EHA website.

See Richard Benyon speaking about the Emotional Health Academy.
 

See Andrea King, Head of Prevention and Safeguarding at West Berkshire Council speaking about the Emotional Health Academy concept and how it was put into action.