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Projects launch to support children and young people’s mental health

SCHOOLS across Liverpool have been awarded funding to improve the emotional health and wellbeing of their students.

Following the pandemic, mental health needs increased across the city – so to better understand how children and young people had been affected, Liverpool City Council launched the anonymous ‘OxWell’ survey in collaboration with local health and education partners and the University of Oxford.

OxWell’s survey of almost 12,000 children and young people, identified mental health as the main issue post-lockdown and the findings have now led to three citywide priorities being set.

Schools will now focus on addressing the three key issues of loneliness, bullying and sleep through activities that will make positive changes.

Separate age-appropriate surveys were made available to children in years 5 to 7 and young people in years 8 to 13, with schools receiving additional support to ensure any students impacted during the process could access immediate help.

Individual schools have now been awarded public health grants of either £5,000, or a collaborative grant of £15,000, to develop projects across a partnership.
A follow-up survey will take place in February 2023, with additional schools and students taking part and a bespoke offer for SEND students will launch later in the spring term.

Cabinet Member for Education and Skills Cllr Tomas Logan said:

“Student voices have demonstrated that demand for mental health support has been increasing, but not enough was known about specific needs – so the OxWell survey has helped us to bridge that gap.

“The survey findings mean we now know the key issues that are affecting our children and young people. We can invest in activities that will improve overall wellbeing in school communities and target key areas to improve the emotional health of our youngest residents.”

Director of Public Health for Liverpool, Professor Matthew Ashton said: 

“Prior to the OxWell survey, the majority of local insight on children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing needs came from those already accessing services. We knew this wasn’t a true reflection as not everyone is eligible to receive that support and of those who are only a small proportion actually access them.

“As a result of the work we have done on the OxWell Survey, schools have been able to review their own data and work with their student focus groups on identifying projects and the best approach for addressing key issues.”