Emotional Wellbeing Intervention at an Early Age Reduces Risk of Long-Term Mental Health Problems

Monday 9th October 2017

As World Mental Health Day approaches, Ashford-based SE charity, CXK, reflects on the impact of its Emotional Wellbeing service to Kent’s community of young people.

With mental health problems affecting 1 in 10 children and young people, and 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem being reported to have not received appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age*; the approach to the emotional and mental health and wellbeing of Kent’s youth remains an important issue that CXK’s service works to address.

Kent charity CXK began delivering its Emotional Wellbeing (EWB) counselling service as part of Young Healthy Minds in 2013; later launching its Emotional Wellbeing Service in 2017. To date, over 8,300 EWB counselling sessions have been delivered by CXK in schools across Kent to young people aged from 5-19, aimed at increasing confidence and social and communications skills.

In a recent review of its EWB service, CXK reports that from 2013-2017, Thanet, Swale and Shepway were the districts with the highest number of referrals whilst Sevenoaks was the lowest. The most common events which initiated referral to the service were family events, and divorce and separation. Anxiety, low self-esteem and anger were most common as the presenting behaviours or emotions, and the ages most frequently referred were children and young people aged 9-11 and 15 years. Over the course of the four years, the gender breakdown has seen more females (56%) referred than males (46%).

The charity reports that investing in children’s emotional wellbeing and mental health is as important as attending to their physical health, as it underpins positive outcomes in childhood and successes in future adulthood.

Sarah Mills, Assistant Director of Early Help Services at CXK, commented: “Through our service we help children and young people with a multitude of complex emotional issues.

“Recently we worked with a 7 year old boy who was experiencing anxiety issues. We gave him the opportunity to talk through his problems and worked with him to equip him with strategies to manage that anxiety. This involved play therapy intervention, and the provision of resources through our ‘Wellbeing Bags’ scheme which helped him moderate his mood.

“Another recent case study involved a 14 year old boy experiencing anger issues as a result of his parents’ divorce. We provided 1:1 weekly counselling, and helped him to develop coping strategies to build resilience and self-awareness, such as the use of soft clay and letter writing to manage anger.

“Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults. Our aim is to intervene early enough that those issues do not lead to long-term mental health issues.”

CXK delivers its Emotional Health and Wellbeing counselling service across Kent. For further information, visit cxk.org/cxk-emotional-wellbeing service.