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New phone line for families to navigate emotional wellbeing support

Suffolk’s Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing Hub has teamed up with Barnardo’s children’s charity to help navigate families to emotional wellbeing support.

The Emotional Wellbeing Hub, which provides access to mental health services for children and young people aged 0-25 in east and west Suffolk, has teamed up with the children’s charity Barnardo’s to provide a new phone line to help guide young people and their parents to emotional wellbeing and mental health support.

The new service, which goes live tomorrow (Wednesday 23rd February), has been commissioned by the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups.

It will see Barnardo’s working alongside the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) and Suffolk County Council to provide support to families.

The phone line will relieve some of the demand on the Emotional Wellbeing Hub by focusing on parents and carers who need general wellbeing information around stress or anxiety, signposting them to support services and providing useful resources.It will also support callers with referrals into services where needed, allowing the hub to prioritise more urgent, high-level calls.

The new partnership with Barnardo’s is being operated on a trial basis in response to feedback from parents and carers who said they were waiting too long for support and information and guidance on a range of mental health and emotional wellbeing needs.

It is hoped the new partnership will result in earlier help and better outcomes for families looking for support, and enable young people who need access to specialist mental health to get help sooner. 

Garry Joyce, Deputy Director of Transformation (Children and Young People) for the Suffolk & North East Essex Integrated Care System, said: “Young people who are emotionally well supported have a far greater chance of enjoying a longer and happier adult life, so it’s vital we do all we can to give them and their families the help they need.

“It is well known the pandemic has had an adverse effect on the ability of the NHS to respond to young people’s wellbeing needs, and the opening of this phoneline is one way we are tackling the issue.

“We want parents and carers to be able to get the help they need for young people, and we are working hard with our partners with the aim of making that happen.”

The Barnardo’s charity provides a range of support to families from across the UK and runs many services supporting young people's emotional health and wellbeing, from one-to-one counselling to group work and schools-based programmes. They work with organisations and professionals to help children get the best start in life.

Tina Douglas, Assistant Director of Children’s Services at Barnardo’s, said: “Across the county Barnardo’s works in partnership with other services to ensure children, young people and families receive the support they need as early as possible to avoid needs escalating. 

“Our ‘See, Hear, Respond’ programme was a unique partnership led by Barnardo’s to support vulnerable, ‘hidden’ children, who were struggling as a result of COVID-19. See Hear Respond was a telephone helpline service that assisted more than 100,000 children and their families.

“We welcome the opportunity to use this learning to trial this new approach in Suffolk in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust and the additional support it will provide for families.”

Parents, carers and professionals can access the new service by calling the Emotional Wellbeing Hub on 0345 600 2090. For more information visit www.emotionalwellbeinggateway.org.uk

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