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Posts tagged ‘safeguarding children’

Listening to children – a role for mental health professionals

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

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Personal Academic Blog: This is the research blog of Dr. Sally Pezaro. Sally is an academic midwife working to secure excellence in maternity services. Specialist interests include psychological wellbeing in midwifery populations, the use of social media in research, teaching and professional regulation.

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