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Back to school blues? Mental health support is available

As children and young people are preparing to go back to school health organisations across Sefton are reminding residents that mental health support is available. Parents, carers, and guardians are being urged to be alert to signs that children could be experiencing anxiety, distress, or low mood as pupils head back to the classroom after months away.

 Dr Susan Gough, mental health lead for NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “It is more important than ever to look out for our children and young people and to help them access the support they need. We know it is not easy to talk about mental health, we would really like to encourage young people to have open conversations about their wellbeing, and to reach out for help if they need it.”

Signs that parents should look out for include:

  • You might find they are more upset or find it hard to manage their emotions
  • They may appear anxious or distressed
  • Increasing trouble with sleeping and eating
  • Appearing low in mood, withdrawn or tearful
  • Reporting worried or negative thoughts about themselves or their future
  • For younger children, there may be more bedwetting.

“If you’re worried about how your child is coping, trust your instinct and reach out for help you can talk to your GP, your child’s school or NHS mental health services.”

This week, The Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has launched a mental health campaign. Using the hashtag #WellnessWednesday, the trust will share and promote information about local services and resources for children and young people on social media. The trust also has a webpage which hosts useful videos, including hints and tips to help children and parents dealing with anxiety about going back to school.

 Margaret Jones, director of public health for Sefton Council, said: “We’d like to reassure parents and pupils that they can get back to school safely and protective measures are in place. Your child’s school or college will be able to give you more information about the specific measures they have put in place, but the government has also released information and practical guidance to support parents, carers and students returning to school or college.”

 Dr Hilal Mulla, mental health lead for NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“As many children start to return to school, it’s vital we continue to give them the support they need to maintain their mental health and wellbeing and deal with any feelings of uncertainty or worry they may be experiencing.

“The NHS offers a large amount of mental health support for children and young people, and if a child needs urgent mental health support or advice, check the NHS website for services in your area, including 24/7 crisis support.

“Parents should contact NHS 111 online or a GP immediately if they notice any physical injuries on a child, such as deep cuts or burns.”

Local mental health and wellbeing support and helplines available:

·       Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – there are a number of local mental health support and advice services available to young people and their families at this time. For more information and to find your local service visit: South Sefton CCG CAMHS or Southport and Formby CCG CAMHS

·       Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust 24/7 CAMHS Crisis Care Team – if a child or young person requires urgent mental health support the team can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0151 293 3577 or free phone on 0808 196 3550.

  • Kooth – This free online service for young people aged 11 to 18 years offers self-help materials and a safe online community 365 days a year.

National helplines and support available:

  • Childlinecall 0800 1111
  • The Samaritanscall 116 123
  • YoungMindsCrisis Messenger: text YM to 85258
  • Papyrus Hopeline UKsuicide prevention helpline: call 0800 068 4141 or text 07860 039967
  • The Mix a support service for young people. You can talk to with the online community, on social, or through the confidential helpline or our counselling service. Call 0808 808 4994 (Sunday to Friday, 2pm to 11pm)
  • If you identify as male, you can call the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight, every day).

Useful links for children and young people’s mental health:

·       For information about the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Back to School Resources, visit: https://covid19.alderhey.nhs.uk/back-to-school-resources-for-parents-and-children/

·       To view the Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Mental Health Help video series, visit: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4zniovSeRnCh_aHl7C7U_8lc7vjphc

Care homes, hospitals, schools among locations to benefit from new, dedicated Contact Tracing Hub

A new Contact Tracing Hub for COVID-19 infections in complex settings and cases has been established in Cheshire and Merseyside.

Led by Public Health England and the region’s Directors of Public Health, The Hub, works with the national Test and Trace programme to manage complex outbreaks of COVID-19 using data and local intelligence. It is one of many interventions put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in local communities and prevent any future lockdowns or restrictions of movement.

The Hub’s purpose is to receive information from the national Test and Trace service and local authorities relating to positive cases of COVID-19 that are identified as a complex case or in a complex setting.

Complex settings include environments like schools, NHS settings like GP practices and hospitals, care homes and workplaces like office blocks and police and fire stations. A complex case may not necessarily be linked to a physical setting but could be a complex cohort like rough sleepers or members of faith communities, or complex individuals and households like those who are shielding, those with learning disabilities, substance misusers or those in complex socioeconomic circumstances.

Positive cases are triaged locally and the Hub works to identify contacts who will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. This happens quickly, minimising the chance of wide transmission of the disease in local communities.

The Hub is currently staffed by a team of 25 local contact tracers, who have received training from Public Health England and are supported by Consultants and Senior Health Protection Practitioners. In addition, local authority teams are available to support with on-going operational issues and consequence management.

This work is a collaborative effort between Public Health England and Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health, and represents a scaling up of existing arrangements. It is hosted by Wirral Council and day-to-day operations are facilitated by the Champs Public Health Collaborative Support Team.

Julie Webster, Director of Public Health for Wirral and lead for the Contact Tracing Hub, said: “I am extremely grateful to colleagues across Cheshire and Merseyside, who have worked tirelessly to establish this Hub within an incredibly tight time-frame.

“It is internationally recognised that containing and managing a disease like COVID-19, especially within complex settings and with complex cases, is only achievable with robust contact tracing. I am confident that as we continue to scale up the Hub, we will play an important role in reducing the spread of the disease.

“This is, of course, only one method of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in local communities and I cannot stress enough how important it is for each and every one of us, no matter our age, to continue to maintain social distancing, wear a face mask or covering when appropriate and wash our hands regularly.”

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council Director of Public Health said: “Although children are returning to school and more people are going into work and socialising and travelling on public transport, COVID-19 is still very much with us and Test and Trace programme is an important way of helping prevent its spread, particularly in complex settings.

“This new, Cheshire and Merseyside Hub will be a vital tool in speeding up the identification process and reduce the likelihood of restrictions needing to be re-introduced locally.”

Find out more about Test and Trace.

 

Children’s return to school is safe says Sefton’s Director of Public Health

“It is safe for children to return to school,” was the key message from Margaret Jones, Sefton’s Director of Public Health when we spoke to her about pupils returning to schools this week.

Not being at school, she said, is harmful for children’s overall well-being.

We asked Margaret about the measures being put in place for the new term to help maintain social distancing and reduce contact. These include reduced class sizes and ‘bubbles’, staggered start finishes and break times.

Margaret also stressed the ongoing need for thorough hand-washing and the importance of people showing COVID-19 symptoms – a raised temperature, new persistent cough or a loss of their sense of taste or smell – isolating and getting a test.

Here’s our interview with Margaret.

Mobile COVID-19 Testing Unit dates and locations for September latest

Mobile coronavirus testing units are scheduled to be at locations across Sefton through September .

If you have the COVID-19 symptoms of a high temperature, persistent cough or loss of taste or smell  – however mild – you should get a test.

Tests at mobile centres are available for anyone but they need to have made an appointment first at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or by calling 119.

Mobile Testing Unit dates and locations for September are:

  • Tue 1  – Litherland
  • Wed 2  – Litherland
  • Thu 3  – Litherland
  • Fri 4  – Litherland
  • Sat 5  – Reserve (No Scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sun 6  – Southport
  • Mon 7 – Southport
  • Tue 8 – Southport
  • Wed 9 – Crosby
  • Thur 10 – Crosby
  • Fri 11 – Crosby
  • Sat 12 – Southport
  • Sun 13 – Southport
  • Mon 14 – Litherland
  • Tue 15 – Litherland
  • Wed 16 – Litherland
  • Thur 17 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Fri 18 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sat 19 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sun 20 – Southport
  • Mon 21 – Litherland
  • Tue 22 – Crosby
  • Wed 23 – Crosby
  • Thur 24 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Fri 25 – Reserve (No scheduled MTU in Sefton)*
  • Sat 26 – Southport
  • Sun 27 – Southport
  • Mon 28 – Crosby
  • Tue 29 – Crosby
  • Wed 30 – Crosby

*One of the Mobile Testing Unit teams is a reserve team,  and may deployed to other Merseyside locations on these days.

Walk-through test centres, opposite Bootle Town Hall and at Southport Town Hall, are open from 8am to 8pm. You need an appointment from www.nhs.uk/coronavirus   or by calling 119 or the Council’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845.

The September dates for Mobile Testing Units , which are supported by Sefton Council, NHS Southport and Formby CCG and NHS South Sefton CCG, follows on from a timetable that saw units deployed across Sefton Borough nearly every day in July and August.

 

Reminder to hospitality businesses and their customers about COVID-19 safety as busy Bank Holiday approaches

As the Bank Holiday weekend approaches, Sefton Council is reminding local businesses and their customers of the importance of following the Government’s COVID-19 guidance.

For businesses in the hospitality sector such as pubs, bars and restaurants this means keeping a temporary record of their customers to assist the NHS Test and Trace should coronavirus cases develop. This is in addition to maintaining the distancing and cleaning measures required to help keep their clients safe.

For customers, this means following any of the measures in place for their protection and making sure they provide any Test and Trace information requested on arrival.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Pubs and bars should have in place a way of recording their customers’ contact details so that if there are cases of coronavirus associated with the premises, they can be traced, warned and instructed to isolate.

“These simple measures on arrival are for the protection of customers and staff but are also there to protect the hospitality sector and the wider economy by reducing the possibility of a wider COVID-19 outbreak and the potential need to introduce local restrictions, which would have a negative effect on everyone.

“Personally, if I arrived at a pub bar or restaurant that didn’t have tracing measures in place, I wouldn’t stay.”

Sarah Rodriguez from Southport BID said:“Business owners in Southport have worked incredibly hard since reopening to ensure their customers and staff are safe and have shown a great deal of respect for the social distancing guidelines as a community.

“We do back Sefton’s plea to ensure that we work together to ensure that these high standards continue across the busy Bank Holiday and beyond.  As a team, we are available for any support and resources to help you implement the measures are available on our website at southportbid.com .”

Sefton Council’s Environmental Health team has been working with businesses across the Borough to help them put in place the measures needed to keep employees and customers safe.

You can find the latest Government Guidance here

Information to help businesses of all types identify and manage coronavirus outbreaks, in the form of downloadable and printable Action Cards.  

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