A digital place for people who access services, carers, staff and partner agencies, to share ideas around care co-ordination & care planning in mental health

Here, Lindsay Britton introduces her role and outlines some of the key issues for mental health professionals in working with families and keeping children safe:

I would like to introduce myself, my name is Lindsay Britton and I am the Named Nurse for Safeguarding Children and Domestic Violence lead for Leeds and York Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust. My role includes being involved with serious case reviews and learning lessons reviews where children have been seriously harmed or died,  and domestic homicide reviews where adults have been killed due to domestic violence.  I attend the MARAC (multiagency risk assessment conference) for adults in high risk domestic abuse situations and we share information on our involvement and plan strategies to ensure their safety. I also ensure all staff are trained and provide advice and supervision.

Increasingly we are recognising the impact that adult mental health difficulties, substance misuse, learning disability or domestic violence can have on children in the family and I feel it is important to ensure the right support is in place to ensure the child’s needs are met. I think the emotional impact is very significant and the fact that many are young carers for their parent. I also believe that parents/carers can have these difficulties and still look after  their children excellently, but it is about having the right support at the right time, and this being recognised.

For our staff there is an increasing demand for them to engage with the children in the family and work with other agencies to assess and ensure the child’s needs are being met. This can be daunting for those only used to working with adults and we are working on improving our training to better equip staff.  This is not something we can get away from as it is not only very important that we ALL think about the child or adult at potential risk  but we are inspected on our engagement with children and joint working by both OFSTED and the Care Quality Commission.  Our senior staff who provide supervision need to ensure their supervisee’s are reflecting on their practice around their work with children and families.

As a parent accessing mental health services, what does this mean to you?

As a clinician, how might this influence your current practice?

What support do you need to be able to deliver this?

How can we all make sure we ‘hear’ what young people are telling us?

Here are some links that may be of interest in relation to parental mental health:

Mental Health Foundation – Parents

SCIE – Think child, think parent, think family: a guide to parental mental health and child welfare

Ofsted –What about the children? Joint working between adult and children’s services when parents or carers have mental ill health and/or alcohol problems

Talking to your child about mental health – Time to Change

Working Together 2013

Parents as Patients

Silent Voices


Comments on: "Listening to children – a role for mental health professionals" (5)

  1. Lindsay Britton said:

    Hi Katie,
    I think it is very positive that the legislation changed recently to ensure that we respond better to emotional harm. There have been frustrating cases which were not progressed due the lack of a ‘serious incident.’
    As a Trust we are working on equipping our staff on how to talk to children and young people so that they engage with them, when working with their parents. I want them to be able to assess the needs of the child and to act on this and liaise with schools and health visitors.
    The ‘early help’ support has been promoted nationally and all local areas need to respond. This means that we have to look at need and provide support earlier in the life of a child’s problem before it escalates to become more harmful. Yes this is still dependant on consent but a young person can provide their own consent if they are sufficiently mature.
    hope this helps

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yorkcarersforum@tiscali.co.uk said:

    Hello Donna, This can only be good. But still so many doors to children will stay closed. Children living with a parent that has a mental health illness but parent has been discharged re ( PHYCOSIS and other related MH illnesses) CHILDREN AND SCHOOLS STILL NEED THAT PARENTS PERMISSION for support to be accessed. My grandson had to try and talk about his and his sisters issues with his mum in the next room with the door open. Needless to say he did not say it as it was or that he did not want to live with her. As a grand parent and mother to my daughter I still have not got a say, I was asked if she would hit them and when I said no it was case shut but they did not ask about the mental stress they are having to live with as they grow up with out support.

    Sorry to rant on.



    Liked by 1 person


    Can we tweet this?
    Sent from my iPhone


    • Katie,

      This is so important on so many levels. Being prepared to listen to children and young adults represents a shift for some clinicians. Much of this has previously been done at a distance from the child, often via the parent, for example, gathering the parents view of what any issues may be regarding the young person, including identifying if they are undertaking a caring role, or determining who, if anyone, is involved in supporting the young person. This is no longer sufficient, there needs to be conversation with the young person to check out these issues.

      I am interested to hear what kind of support, if any,that clinicians need to be able to do this?

      Anecdotally I hear of barriers to this, such as that where there is someone else involved regarding the child, then they should be having the conversations, not mental health services. This is not a view I share, I think that the conversation can be built up in layers, and like anyone else, the young person may have things to say but are dependant upon having the opportunity to say it. We should all be looking to provide these opportunities.
      Bigger picture is that offering some support to a child or young adult may help that person in the longer term.

      It is important that parents are aware that there is support for the family, that support is not only for where there are formal ‘safeguarding’ concerns. How do we achieve this?



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Dr Sally Pezaro

This is the research blog of Dr Sally Pezaro. Sally is 'The Academic Midwife' working to secure excellence in maternity services. Specialist interests include maternity services, workforce and midwifery research.



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