To mark Childrens’ Mental Health week, My Mind News speaks to Dylan Pomietlo, Director of Client Services at Teenage Mental Health, an organization that is making a phenomenal impact on all it serves.
Why is Teenage Mental Health so important?
A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in 2019 indicates that the teen mental health crisis continues to grow “significantly over the last decade.” The research took place before the COVID-19 pandemic. Today the figures are more alarming –
- 10% of children and adolescents worldwide experience a mental disorder, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- Most of these children do not seek help or care (WHO),
- Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in 15 to 19-year-olds (WHO).
- Almost half of the young people are experiencing mental health issues in the UK. These are above the threshold for “probable mental ill health,” indicating high levels of psychological distress.
- NHS data analyzed by the PA news agency shows a 39% jump in mental health referrals for under-18s in England to more than 1.1 million.
- 34% of those referred to NHS services are not accepted into treatment.
Due to the number of children needing treatment for severe mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders), services to support teenagers and young adults are at breaking point.
Who is the Teenage Mental Health Organization?
Teenage Mental Health (TMH) is based in Ipswich and provides counseling and training tailored to children and young adults. The philosophy at TMH is that “the patient always comes first and is the center of any work.”
It was founded in 2019 by the clinical lead Fiona from her garden shed, and she now heads up a team of twenty. All the therapists are qualified to at least masters level and are BACP accredited qualifications for child and adolescent counseling.
Dylan advised that in 2022 TMH,
“completed over 9000 therapy sessions, but can see up to 400 per week. Meaning in 2023, and they have 21,000 appointments available for both children and adults”.
These numbers are a massive achievement for a local organization, and they do not currently have a waiting list either!
What is on offer?
The center in Ipswich offers one-to-one counseling for children, young adults, adults, and couples. According to Dylan, TMH’s key focus is,
“helping children who are suffering some form of mental imbalance, working with the child to help them think through and process the problems that they are experiencing, at a pace that they are comfortable with.”
TMH’s offering is unique, as is its ethos as parent and carers self-refer. You do not need to have a doctor’s referral letter.
TMH understands clients’ urgent needs and commits to ensuring the first appointment (A Clinical Call back) takes place within 24 hours of an inquiry, and an initial face-to-face meeting (assessment) takes place within 2-7 days following this, often the next day!
Another benefit for families is that the initial appointment is free. This allows a full assessment to support the young person. There is no obligation for ongoing treatment; TMH’s ethos is to be there when young people are ready.
TMH also launched a comprehensive range of training in 2022 for parents, carers, and professionals, helping to create open communication and a supportive environment for children. The courses are carried out remotely and last two hours. After attending, you will have the confidence to
- Spot the signs of mental health difficulties,
- How to help a young person in crisis,
- How to seek additional support.
- Know how to communicate with someone struggling with or in mental health distress.
Along with an introductory course, there are courses on some of the most common mental health conditions young people experience. These include self-harm, disordered eating, depression, suicide, gender Identity, and anxiety.
How is TMH marking Children’s Mental Health Week?
TMH has produced FREE bookmarks based on several common themes that provide helpful advice on mental health concerns for primary and secondary school-aged children. Distribution of the bookmarks to Suffolk schools has taken place.
If you are a Suffolk-based organization working with children and young adults, they are happy to provide packs of bookmarks for you too! You can find out more or order these via https://www.teenagementalhealth.co.uk/
What is next for TMH?
Dylan advises that TMH has been in discussions with the NHS on supporting the #NHS #suffolk waiting lists for Children and Adolescents. Unfortunately, opportunities to do this take time to come to fruition. However, TMH is ready and hopeful that it can help the NHS and support its struggling public services this year.
In closing the interview, My Mind News asked Dylan for one piece of advice that he would like us to keep in mind. Dylan wanted to remind our readers,
“Whether you’re two years old or 102, TMH is ready to be by your side”.
My Mind News is delighted to raise the profile and work this valuable organization provides for our children, young adults, and families.
TMH is a unique organization that is helping by putting their client needs first without enduring a long and stressful wait at what can be a critical time for children and adults. You can contact TMH by calling +44 1473 411324 or sending them an email.
We will keep you updated on TMH news thorough the year!