A Consortium of experts is to deliver a £2.2m educational and advice programme to improve knowledge, skills and attitudess towards mental health issues in children.
The interactive hub, funded by the Department of Health, will speed up the time it takes to diagnose a child with mental health issues by ensuring professionals working with children and young people, such as NHS staff, early years' professionals, teachers, social workers and police, recognise signs as soon as possible.
This two year programme, set to be launched in Spring 2014 will be delivered by experts across the field of child health including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), Royal College of Nursing, the British Psychological Society and children's charity YoungMinds.
RCPCH Vice President for Education, Dr Alistair Thomson, said: "This electronic portal will provide a high quality learning resource to enhance the knowledge, skills and confidence of the multitude of professionals that work directly or indirectly with children and young people with mental health problems.
"It will help identify children and adolescents with mental health issues at the earliest possible stage thereby not only directly improving children's health and other associated benefits like improving their educational achievement, but thanks to early intervention, preventing conditions worsening when that child moves into adulthood."
The portal will also ensure the messages given to children and young people by these professionals are concise & consistent through the following features:
• A suite of e-training resources tailored specifically at health professionals and non-health professionals working with children and young people
• Assessment and outcome evaluation aids throughout the programme which help determine how valuable the knowledge and skills gained from the resources have been
• A package of e-enabled therapies which suggest the best treatment for a child or young person and the additional resources that may be needed to support that treatment
The Consortium will also work alongside The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) which will be delivering the e-learning materials that relate to counselling for the programme.