How a South Shields community group helping improve children's mental health
Members of community group the Kayaks have successfully completed mental health training to help them further improve the lives of children and young people in the area.
Fifteen members of the support group, Kope with Kayaks – which is made up of volunteers, parents and carers of children with special needs – successfully passed the 12 week training course to complete their Level 2 Children’s Mental Health Awareness.
They were all awarded their certificates in a presentation at Trinity House in South Shields on Friday, July 19.
The training course, which they began in May 2019, aims to increase participants’ knowledge and awareness of children and young people’s mental health, allowing them to spot the signs that an individual may be struggling.
Founded nine years ago, Kayaks offer a wide range of support and activities for children and young adults with special needs. Members set up Kope with Kayaks last year, to give parents and carers the opportunity to socialise and access one to one support.
“Children with special needs and disabilities often suffer with mental health issues, especially as they get older. It’s a huge issue now, we have noticed a massive increase in children struggling with anxiety,” said Kimberley Elliot, vice chair of Kayaks.
“We wanted to raise awareness of that and give volunteers the opportunity to learn, so that we can notice the signs and help parents and carers notice the signs earlier.”
She continued: “There was a variety of reasons why people wanted to do it, some for personal reasons and some to help others who might be struggling.”
“It’s given a good insight into what the children might need and what services that the parents meet need to access. We have got a lot of connections we can direct people to if they need that support.”
The course was funded by health and social care training provider, Connect 2 Care.
Kimberley added: “Everybody was just over the moon that they passed. I want to say a big thank you to Connect 2 Care for the opportunity to be able to access the course and all the effort they put in to get 15 people through it.”