Child Poverty and Mental Health What is the link between Mental Health and Child Poverty?
Background on Southwark According to the 2010 Southwark Health profile 42.3% (20694) of children in Southwark were living in poverty. Southwark is the 9 th most deprived borough, nationally it is one of the 20 most deprived. In order to improve the opportunities for children, we need to address the various causes of child poverty.
Key factors to child poverty: Unemployment is a major factor contributing to poverty, and low levels of parental employment in London can be seen as a primary cause of child poverty. Unemployment can also be a major factor in causing common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Depression Anxiety Unemployment A vicious cycle
Southwark Psychological Therapies Service (SPTS) SPTS is a new service based on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative SPTS provides NICE recommended treatments for depression and anxiety. For people who require support with returning to or staying in work, there is also individually tailored support from a team of vocational specialists.
What support does SPTS offer? Supports parents access free CBT therapy for anxiety and/or depression; link parents with vocational support from the southwark vocational team. The vocational advisers are embedded in the team and carry out their work along side the therapists. In work support is offered through job retention; support with training for parents who wish to up skill, career coaching and employability coaching is also available to parents.
The Child Poverty Project in Southwark A proposal was submitted to Working for Wellness to deliver a 12 month child poverty project. Project manager was employed and a project plan was then developed outlining the objectives to be achieved within the project period.
Aims of the Project: To set up a stakeholder group. To develop joint working protocols and referral guidelines devised for pathways into and out of SPTS. Create links between SPTS, children's centres and other parent support agencies in the borough. To link in with existing employment initiatives aimed at parents etc…
Projects approach Links were established with the 21 childrens Centres in Southwark- through the attendance of the practitioners meetings. Attended stay and play sessions, bookstart sessions, parents forums, fund day events and drop in sessions. Inform parents about the SPTS service, have referral packs available for parents when necessary; support parents with completing the self referral forms if necessary.
Additional Links Established Links with a number of key professionals in the borough who work with parents and families. Links with JCP and School Gates adviser. Links with Housing Associations.
The importance of these links: Secure outreach posts in Children's centres for therapist to offer therapy in a community setting. To ensure that key providers in the borough are aware of SPTS and what the service offers. To create a referral pathway so that parents can be sign-posted to the service if required. Ensure marketing and referral packs are made available Staff feel confident in signposting to the service.
What was achieved? It is estimated that over 500 staff from a number of organisations and services have been informed about SPTS. Self referrals to SPTS has increased significantly over the last 12 months, (approx 380 referrals)
Possible recommendations: Training: Role out training to key workers in the borough so that they have a better understanding of anxiety and/or depression and feel more equipped in signposting to SPTS. Childcare: This is still an issue for parents in accessing psychological therapy and employment. A greater need for more flexible childcare Partnership work: Develop stronger links with Health Visitors, JCP staff and Housing Associations in the borough in order to reach the hardest to reach parents.