Ahead of the first #COTcpdclub Twitter chat (Thursday 3rd April, 12-1pm), Zoe Parker (@COTcpd) takes a look at a new learning portal for mental health, and highlights the work needed to achieve genuine parity of esteem.
As spring starts to unfurl I would like to share some good news about a really exciting and ambitious collaborative educational project. Last week my colleague, Karin Bishop, and I went to the launch of MindEd, a new portal which aims to reach a million people who work with children and young people. It provides evidence-based resources to inform and support their work and help them to make the right decisions—decisions that support the development of healthy young minds and decisions to intervene early before mental health problems can ruin lives.
This is work funded by the Department of Health and led with exemplary collegiality by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. They involved some key medical professional bodies and included the charities Young Minds and the National Childrens Bureau (NCB) in the first phase of the project.
Last October COT was invited to get involved and I hope to be able to share some plans for future developments with you soon.
It would be great if you could spread the word about this portal. It’s completely free to access and available to all. You can register if you want to track your learning or you can just visit anonymously and still access all the resources. Because it’s freely available, those children and young people who want to can also access it. Because it’s accessible online, there’s no need for anyone to know that a person is seeking help through gaining knowledge, which avoids the awful shame and stigma people can feel about disclosing their mental health issues.
Norman Lamb, the Minister for Care and Support, was at the launch last week, and he made the point that this is part of the work to achieve parity of esteem between physical and mental health as discussed here by NHS England’s Director for Patients with Long-term Conditions, Dr Martin McShane—surely with our holistic approach this must be very dear to OT hearts?
The launch was both very heartening and somewhat depressing. It’s heartening to have a great new initiative that surely will help some children and young people to lead happier lives and to thrive. It’s depressing that if I were terribly concerned about the mental well-being of a young person or small child I would not necessarily know whom to refer to as services vary so tremendously across all the regions in the UK. Also, although we were talking across professions and there was a nice variety of people on my table, I got disheartened by the sense of the fragmentation and lack of integration both within and between professions. It does seem that those within professions who care for the most vulnerable can be perceived as having lower status within those professions. I remember this phenomenon from my time in teacher education, when the special needs educators were often treated as having the lowest status even though they were also often the most highly skilled.
It was sad to think that mental health is still the poor relation when it comes to funding. Norman Lamb stated that he was quite angry to find that services are still being commissioned with a huge bias towards spending on visible problems and so physical health.
Please explore the MindEd portal and record this as a CPD activity. What do you think about it? How can we help it to reach a million professionals so that the children and young people they work with can be supported?