ICB marks Mental Health Awareness Week with release of films to promote young people’s mental wellbeing at home

Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board has released a series of short films for families about how to have healthy conversations around mental health.

The films are freely available to all, and contain tips and strategies from healthcare professionals about how to support young people’s mental health at home, including while they may be waiting for input from mental health services.

Released to coincide with this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which begins on Monday 10 May, the films were created in collaboration with the team at Create Studios in Swindon and feature real-life stories from young people talking about how the services they’ve accessed have supported them and improved their quality of life.

Young people aged between seven and 15 years old have described the films as inspirational, with some saying the videos have shown them there can be a happy ending.

Esther Schmidt, Children’s Commissioning Lead, said: “We are really excited to release these films for Mental Health Awareness Week as they will help young people understand what treatment options are available if they are struggling through difficult times.

“The films are also a great resource for parents and carers to watch again and again, to help guide the language they use in their interactions with young people.

“The way families talk about mental health can make an enormous difference to how situations are handled and the outcomes for those who are struggling.”

National research has shown children and young people’s mental health is suffering more than ever.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists analysed data taken between April 2020 and December 2020, which showed a 28 per cent increase in the number of referrals to mental health services compared with the year before.

Alongside this, NHS England research has shown the experience of waiting for support from mental health services can cause young people to feel scared, alone, lost and confused.

James Fortune, Head of Service at Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), said: “It is important that we take care of our mental health in the same way we do our physical health.

“We would encourage young people, and also their parents or carers, who are worried about their mental health and wellbeing to access these helpful resources, as well as make use of the wide range of materials that are available on our recently updated website.”

Local evidence indicates that children and young people would prefer to receive mental health support primarily from their family and friends, and that they would only reach out to professionals as a last resort.

Similarly, parents and carers have said they would like to receive advice and training on how to support their young people while they wait for professional help.

Milly and Olivia, the Wellbeing and Communication Training Facilitators featured in the films, give a wide range of tips and advice for children, young people and their families, including advice about how to communicate well.

Gurch Singh, Executive Director and Senior Film Creative at Create Studios, said: “It has been our absolute pleasure to have worked with the ICB over the past year on these films, and to have contributed to the betterment of the community’s health and wellbeing.

“Our passion at Create Studios is to create worthwhile creative content that captures unique stories.

We are privileged to be part of this timeless resource that we hope will be used by many.”

The films can be viewed online on the ICB’s YouTube channel, and more information about local mental health services can also be found online at www.bswicb.nhs.uk.