Back to:

JSNA Home

JSNA Contents

JSNA Search

Contains: Anxiety and Depression, Personality Disorders, Psychosis, Postnatal Depression. Wellbeing, Emotional Health and Wellbeing of Children and Young People, Self-Harm, Safe Places in Health-based Settings ,Guardianship under the 1983 Mental Health Act

Related to: Ill Health and Disability, Self-Harm, Suicide and Mortality of Undetermined Intent, Dementia, Eating Disorders, Patient Experience, Students, Natural Environment, Adult Social Care, Domestic Abuse, People with Multiple Needs, Alcohol, Substance Misuse, Employment and Economic Activity, Homelessness, Children and Young People,Toxic/Complex Trio and Parental Needs, Child Health and Wellbeing Survey

Key Facts

  • Estimates suggest that 16% of the working age population have a common mental illness.
  • Public Health England has estimated that 8.4% of children and young people aged 5-16 years in Bath and North East Somerset in 2013 had a mental health illness. This is similar to the 2013 estimates for England (9.6%) and the South West (8.9%). 
  • There were 1,595 people in 2012/13 (financial year) registered with serious mental illness (schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and other psychoses) in GP practices in B&NES.
  • Recorded prevalence is generally below the national average.
  • There are approximately 4 hospital attendances per 1000 population for mental health issues, lower than national and regional rates.
  • In B&NES in 2013/14  there were 70.1 child and young people (0-17 years) hospital inpatient admissions for mental health disorders per 100,000 of the 0-17 years population (24 admissions). This was ower than the rate for the South West (77.0) and England (87.2).
  • Around 3/4 of people with mental illness receiving no treatment at all.
  • At £32m, the cost of treating mental health issues locally is largely in line with national and regional averages.

Definitions

Mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness, but is a positive state of mind and body, feeling safe and able to cope, with a sense of connection with people, communities and the wider environment1.

Mental illness falls into three broad categories: neurotic disorders (Anxiety and Depression); psychotic disorders(schizophrenia, bipolar disorder); and Personality Disorders. It is important to distinguish between mental health and mental illness. Good mental health is related to, but independent of, mental illness; a person can have good mental health but have a mental illness or a person can have no mental illness but still have poor mental health.

Information on groups and activities in Bath and North East Somerset open to adults who are socially isolated, affected by mental health issues, substance misuse or homelessness can be found in the Hope Guide

What does the data say?

Prevalence - UK

It is thought that almost one in six people in the UK will suffer from mental ill-health in their lifetime. 2

Mental illness is the leading cause of disability worldwide, representing up to 23% of the total burden of ill health in the UK 3 compared with 17.2% for cardiovascular disease and 15.5% for cancers 4. An estimated 74% of Europeans are affected by mental illness but remain untreated 5

Many mental illnesses are common and often start in childhood (10% of children in the UK have a mental illness 6), and then continue into adulthood. (50% of all women and 25% of men in the UK will be affected by depression at some time in their life 7). 

Approximately 1-2% of the UK population have a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and on average a person dies every two hours in England as a result of suicide. Suicide is the most common cause of death in men under 35 and the main cause of premature death for people with mental illness.

Nearly one third of GP consultations include a mental health component and mental health problems occupy one third of a GP’s time 8 9

There is a very significant overall treatment gap in mental healthcare in England, with about 3/4 of people with mental illness receiving no treatment at all. 10

Prevalence - Bath and North East Somerset

The prevalence of mental illness in B&NES is generally below or similar to the national average, with the exception of depression, where prevalence is higher. This could however reflect demand rather than need as it is based upon GP recorded prevalence11

Common mental illness - PANSI estimates 18,570 people in B&NES aged 16-64 have a common mental illness 2010/11 (16% of working age population) 12

Neuroses - Within B&NES there is an approximate rate of 18% of the GP registered population having a record of neuroses, although there are wide variations between GP practices 13

Long-term mental health problems - In the B&NES registered population in 2012/13, 3.8% of patients responding to a national GP survey, stated that they had a long-term mental health problem, lower than that for England, 4.5%. 14

Psychotic disorders - PANSI estimates 461 people aged 16-64 in B&NES have a psychotic disorder 15

Serious mental health illness - There were 1,595 people in 2012/13 (financial year) registered with serious mental illness (*schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and other psychoses) in GP practices in Bath and North East Somerset.** 16

The prevalence rate for the mental health conditions outlined above is virtually the same for B&NES as it is for England, at 0.7-0.8% between 2008-2013 (financial years).** The prevalence of these mental health conditions has remind virtually the same, with only a very slight rise. 17

Figure 1: Severe mental health conditions (*schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and other psychoses) prevalence in B&NES and England GP registered populations (2008/09 – 2012/13 financial years) 18

**It is important to note that the above rates are based on the GP registered population of Bath and North East Somerset and so some of these people may not be residents of Bath North East Somerset. Nevertheless, the vast majority of people will be registered with a GP in their county of residence.

For more up to date prevalence figures for mental health conditions recorded as part of the NHS Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), see the Ill Health and Disability section. 

Children and Young People 19

One in ten children aged 5-16 years in England has a clinically diagnosable mental health problem and, of adults with long-term mental health problems, half will have experienced their first symptoms before the age of 14. Self-harming and substance abuse are known to be much more common in children and young people with mental health disorders; with 10% of 15-16 year olds having self-harmed. Failure to treat mental health disorders in children can have a devastating impact on their future, resulting in reduced job and life expectations. It is also thought that 25-50% of mental health problems are preventable through interventions in the early years. 20

Bath and North East Somerset 21

Using the prevalence from the ONS 2004 Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain survey, adjusting for age, sex and socio-economic classification and mid-year population estimates, Public Health England has estimated that 8.4% of children and young people aged 5-16 years in Bath and North East Somerset in 2013 had a mental health illness. This is similar to the 2013 estimates for England (9.6%) and the South West (8.9%). 

According to the ONS 2004 Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain survey prevalence varied by age and gender, and was classified into conduct, emotional, hyperkinetic and less common disorders (ASD, eating disorders, mutism) with some children having more than one disorder.  22

Estimates of the numbers of children in B&NES affected by these different mental health conditions were generated by applying the survey percentages to the 2011 B&NES child population: 

The estimated numbers of affected children are as follows:

Table 1: Estimates of the numbers of children in B&NES affected by different mental health conditions generated by applying the ONS 2004 Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain survey percentages to the 2011 B&NES child population 23

In terms of child and young people (0-17 years) hospital inpatient admissions for mental health disorders, in the financial year 2013/14 in Bath and North East Somerset there were 70.1 per 100,000 population aged 0-17 years (24 admissions). This was lower than the rate for the South West (77.0) and England (87.2) during the same period. 24

The rates of child and young people (0-17 years) hospital inpatient admissions for mental health disorders per 100,000 population aged 0-17 years in B&NES in 2010/11 was 102.2 (35 admissions), in 2011/12 71.2 (24 admissions), and in 2012/13 it was 53.2 (18 admissions).

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) 25 -  deliver services in line with a four-tier strategic framework which is widely accepted as the basis for planning, commissioning and delivering services. Although there is some variation in the way the framework has been developed and applied across the country, it has created a common language for describing and commissioning services.

The model is not intended as a template that must be applied rigidly, but rather as a conceptual framework for ensuring that a comprehensive range of services is commissioned and available to meet all the mental health needs of children and young people in an area. The model has four tiers with clear referral routes between tiers.

Tier 1- less severe problems and problems early in their development - CAMHS at this level are provided by practitioners who are not mental health specialists working in universal services; this includes GPs, health visitors, school nurses, teachers, social workers, youth justice workers and voluntary agencies. Practitioners will be able to offer general advice and treatment for less severe problems, contribute towards mental health promotion, identify problems early in their development, and refer to more specialist services.

Tier 2 - severe or complex needs which require more specialist interventions - Practitioners at this level tend to be CAMHS specialists working in community and primary care settings in a uni-disciplinary way (although many will also work as part of Tier 3 services).For example, this can include primary mental health workers, psychologists and counsellors working in GP practices, paediatric clinics, schools and youth services.Practitioners offer consultation to families and other practitioners, outreach to identify severe or complex needs which require more specialist interventions, assessment (which may lead to treatment at a different tier), and training to practitioners at Tier 1.

Tier 3 - more severe, complex and persistent disorders - This is usually a multi-disciplinary team or service working in a community mental health clinic or child psychiatry outpatient service, providing a specialised service for children and young people with more severe, complex and persistent disorders.Team members are likely to include child and adolescent psychiatrists, social workers, clinical psychologists, community psychiatric nurses, child psychotherapists, occupational therapists, art, music and drama therapists.

Tier 4 - most serious problems - These are essential tertiary level services for children and young people with the most serious problems, such as day units, highly specialised outpatient teams and in-patient units. These can include secure forensic adolescent units, eating disorders units, specialist neuro-psychiatric teams, and other specialist teams (e.g. for children who have been sexually abused), usually serving more than one district or region.

It is important to note - Most children and young people with mental health problems will be seen at Tiers 1 and 2. However, it is important to bear in mind that neither services nor people fall neatly into tiers.  For example, many practitioners work in both Tier 2 and Tier 3 services. Similarly, there is often a misconception that a child or young person will move up through the tiers as their condition is recognised as more complex. In reality, some children require services from a number (or even all) of the tiers at the same time.

Children and young people in B&NES requiring CAMHS 26 Based on the 2012 CCG General Practice (GP) registered patient counts an estimate was developed as to the proportion of children and young people aged 17 years and under who may experience mental health problems appropriate to a response from CAMHS Tiers 1 to 4 nationally.  When this proportion was applied to the B&NES 2012 mid-year population estimate, it suggested that in B&NES in 2012 there were approximately 630 children and young people aged 17 years and under who required Tier 3 CAMHS, and 30 who required Tier 4 CAMHS. It is important to note that these estimates do not make any adjustment for local characteristics which may impact on need for services.

Demand and uptake of health and social care services by people with mental health conditions B&NES

In B&NES in quarter 1 (Q1) of the financial year 2013/14 there were 1,137 people per 100,000 of the 18+ population admitted to NHS funded adult specialist mental health services (regardless of a formal diagnosis). This includes use of community as well as hospital based services.  This is significantly lower than the England average of 2,176 per 100,000 of the 18+ population.  27

People on Care Programme Approach (CPA) - The Care Programme Approach is the system which coordinates the care of many specialist mental health service patients. CPA requires health and social services to combine their assessments to make sure everybody needing CPA receives properly assessed, planned and coordinated care. It should also ensure that patients get regular contact with a care co-ordinator. 28

In B&NES in Q1 of the financial year 2013/14 there were 494 people on the Care Programme Approach per 100,000 of the population, this is similar to England with 531 per 100,000 of the population.29

People with a mental illness in residential or nursing care - In B&NES during the financial year 2012/13 there were 27.1 people  aged 18-64 with a mental illness (as their primary illness) in residential or nursing care per 100,000 of the 18-64 population. This is similar to the 2012/13 England rate of 32.7 per 100,000 of the population. 30

Hospital attendances

NB. Admission to hospital reflects the needs of those people with higher/more complex mental health needs. Demand for IAPT services (see section below) reflects demand for less severe but more common problems such as anxiety and lower-level depression.

Inpatient attendances - Mental Health Admissions (2010/11) have consistently been below regional and national averages since 2005/06, though when broken down into admission type, are higher for elective admissions in adults. 31 When elective and non-elective (emergency) admissions are separated, elective admissions have often been above regional and national averages and only non-elective admissions have consistently been lower. 32

Inpatients in psychiatric hospitals - In B&NES in Q3 of the financial year 2013/14, 2.7% of mental health service users were inpatients in a psychiatric hospital, similar to the 2.4% for England. This is an indication of the proportion of the population with a mental illness that require the most intense services. 33

Number of bed days in mental health hospitals - In B&NES in Q1 of the financial year 2013/14 there were 3,461 bed days used in secondary mental health care hospitals per 100,000 of the resident population. This is significantly lower than England with 4,686 per 100,000 of the population.34

Outpatient attendances - for mental health conditions in B&NES are generally below national and regional rates since 2005:

  • There were approximately 4 adult mental health outpatient attendances per 1000 population (Directly Age Standardised Rate) which is above the South West average (2.49) but below the national average (5.63) in 2010/11 and has been below regional and national averages for all other years since 2004.
  • Rates of outpatient attendances for children and adolescents have been above national and regional averages in 2009/10 and 2010/1135
  • Percentage of Mental Health Outpatients Who Did Not Attend (21.9%) – above national (21.3%) and regional (19.5%) averages for 2010/11. Has fluctuated in last 6 years – below and above both averages36
  • The average number of mental health overnight occupied beds in B&NES per 1000 Population (0.37 for 2010/11) has consistently been below national (0.75) and regional (0.53) average since 2005/0637

A&E attendances

Attendances at A&E for a psychiatric disorder - Crisis resolution teams treat people with serious mental health conditions when they experience an acute and severe psychiatric crisis. However many crisis episodes result in contact with police services or attendance at hospital A&E departments. Mental health problems are also associated with physical health problems, which may result in hospital visits. The impact of mental illness upon A&E departments may be significant and the need for liaison psychiatry services substantial. 38

In B&NES in the financial year 2012/13 there were 12.9 attendances at A&E departments where a diagnosis of mental illness was recorded, per 100,000 of the resident population. This was significantly lower than England with 243.5 per 100,000 of the population, for the same period. 39

Preventing deaths in detention of adults with mental health conditions – an enquiry by the equality and human rights commission

Between 2010 and 2013, 367 adults with mental health conditions died of ‘non-natural’ causes while in state detention in police cells and psychiatric wards. Another 295 died in prison.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 British adults experience at least one mental health condition and this number is not recorded in prisons. Data from 1997 suggested that 92% of male prisoners had one of 5 severe mental health conditions; Psychosis, neurosis, personality disorder, alcohol misuse and drug dependence. In 2013/14, it was found that police cells were used as a ‘place of safety’ for people with mental health conditions 6,028 times.

Since 2013 the numbers of non-natural deaths in detention has continued to rise and the purpose of this report was to highlight the mistakes made and produce recommendations for improvement.

The report was commissioned in June 2014 and makes 4 key recommendations;

  • Structured approaches for learning lessons should be implemented in all settings to improve after previous deaths and near misses and a statutory obligation to respond to recommendations from inspectorate bodies, and publish these responses.

  • Individual institutions should have a stronger focus on meeting their basic responsibilities to keep their detainees safe, improving staff training and working in a joined up fashion.

  • Increased transparency to ensure adequate scrutiny, including involving families. The new duty of candour, recently implemented in April 2015 which applies to all NHS bodies may help with this.

  • The equality and human rights commissions framework on human rights should be adopted and used as a practical tool in all settings.

For more details please see the full report

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) 40

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies is an NHS programme offering evidence-based interventions to treat people with depression and anxiety disorders. The programme was created to offer patients a routine and timely first-line treatment, combined with medication where appropriate. 41

There is a wide variation in referrals (and so uptake) to IAPT (community psychological) services by GP Practice

The service has seen a noticeable rise in referrals for service users aged 18-25. This may be as a result of young adults who have previously accessed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services being referred or referring themselves to the IAPT service.

Referral patterns suggest that proportionately more patients in the under 45 age group are coming to the service and less patients in the over 55 age group. This in an area which the service is seeking to explore in the 2011/12 year and is important as other evidence suggests that depression peaks in later years.

There has been a marked shift in referral patterns to the service. In 2009/10 92% of referrals to the service were through GPs. This fell to 80% over 2010/11 with the introduction of self-referral in late 2010. The service is currently receiving 67% of referrals through the self-referral route which includes online applications to access the service.

72% of those treated in 2011-12 were female and 28% male. This compares to 35% of people with depression on GP registers being male.

Employment and accommodation 

Accomodation - Maintaining stable and appropriate accommodation and providing social care in this environment promotes personalisation and quality of life, prevents the need to readmit people into hospital or more costly residential care and ensures a positive experience of social care. Addressing the housing needs of adults with mental health problems should improve their safety and reduce their risk of social exclusion. 42

67.9% of adults in contact with secondary mental health services in B&NES in 2012-13 lived independently, with or without support, this was similar to the comparator group of local authorities* (67.1%) but higher than England (58.5%).43

In B&NES in Q1 of the financial year 2013/14, 65.7% of people aged 18-69 with on open Care Programme Approach were in settled accommodation according to their most recent record of Accommodation Status (within 12 months). This is significantly higher than the England average of 61%. 44

Employment - The 2005 evidence review "Is work good for your health and wellbeing" concluded that work was generally good for both physical and mental health and wellbeing. 45

16% of adults in contact with secondary mental health services in B&NES in 2012-13 were in paid employment, this was higher than the comparator group of local authorities* (12.3%) and England (8.8%).46

In B&NES in Q1 of the financial year 2013/14, 14.3% of people aged 18-69 with on open Care Programme Approach were in employment according to their most recent record of Employment Status (within 12 months). This is significantly higher than England with 7%. 47

Employed in this instance refers to those who are either employed for a company or self-employed. It also includes those who are in supported employment (including government supported training and employment programmes), those in permitted work (i.e. those who are in paid work and also receiving Incapacity Benefit) and those who are unpaid family workers (i.e. those who do unpaid work for business they own or for a business a relative owns). 48

*Comparable councils are selected according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Nearest Neighbour Model, which identifies similarities between authorities based upon a range of socio-economic indicators. 49

Costs of mental health

It is estimated mental illness in England costs around £105 billion, 50 including:

  • £21.3 billion in health and social care costs,
  • £30.3 billion in lost economic output
  • £53.6 billion in human suffering. 51.

Also, sickness absence due to mental health problems costs the UK economy £8.4 billion a year and also results in £15.1 billion in reduced productivity. 52

This makes mental health more costly than other potentially preventable illness related to smoking, alcohol misuse, obesity and cardio- vascular disease 53.

Futhermore, it has been estimated that the cost to the health services of treating mental illness could double over the next 20 years. 54

Costs of mental health in B&NES

NHS B&NES spend on mental health increased overall between 2000/9 to 2010/11 by 10.8% to £32.0m – broadly in line with the national/SHA average. Figures for previous years are lower, therefore representing larger increases but data validity in those years has been called into question. This was spent across a range of areas which are separately recorded in the programme budgeting returns as follows:

  • £3.1m Drug and Alcohol services (delivered through a pooled budget with the Council)
  • £6.3m Organic disorders including dementia
  • £14.2m Psychotic disorders
  • £2.2m Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • £6.2m Other – including Secure and Talking therapies

In terms of the secondary care services, in the financial year 2011/12, B&NES NHS spent 10.6% of its secondary care funding on mental health services, similar to the England average of 12.1%. 55

In the financial year 2012/13 B&NES spent £22,039 on specialist mental health services per 100,000 of the adult population, similar to the England average of £26,756 per 100,000 of the adult population. 56

In 2010/11 the PCT’s spend per head was £206 which is in line with the national spend of £209 and the regional spend of £203 but 14% higher than the ONS group of comparator areas. It is possible that B&NES being a small PCT raises the cost of providing services per head and contributes towards higher costs compared to comparator areas but if this was the case then we would expect the national spend to also be higher.

Other benchmarking exercises across Health and Social Care (the national LIT exercise) have also highlighted the relatively high costs of Adult services as opposed to those for Older People. In the 2011/12 LIT exercise, the local community was benchmarked as 15% above the ONS average for Adults but 2% below for services for Older People.

In recent years services have been re-patterned to reduce the number of NHS ward beds for both Adults and Older People with a corresponding growth in community service. The talking therapies service has also been expanded in line with national policy.

What does the community say?

Consultation with service users indicate high levels of satisfaction with the IAPT service with 89% reporting that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the service 57

The key findings of “Attitudes to Mental Illness”, 2011 Survey Report 58: (a national report) are:

  • The percentage of people agreeing that ‘Mental illness is an illness like any other’ increased from 71% in 1994 (the first year this question was asked) to 77% in 2011
  • The percentage saying they would be comfortable talking to a friend or family member about their mental health, for example telling them they had a mental health diagnosis and how it affects them, rose from 66% in 2009 (the first year the question was asked) to 70% in 2011
  • The percentage saying they would feel uncomfortable talking their employer about their mental health was 43%, compared to 50% in 2010 (the first year this question was asked)
  • 25% of respondents agreed that ‘Most women who were once patients in a mental hospital can be trusted as babysitters’
  • Agreement that one of the main causes of mental illness is a lack of self-discipline and willpower stands at 16%
  • The percentage of people saying that locating mental health facilities in a residential area downgrades the neighbourhood stood at 17%

St Mungo’s interviewed 42 service users with experience of mental health issues (including some carers) in early 2012 in order to find out what needs to be done to build bridges between people with mental health issues in B&NES and services, groups and activities that could support improvements in their wellbeing 59.

Findings were organised around six ‘gaps’; areas where there was clearly room for improvement. In summary the gaps were:
  • Improving wellbeing.
  • Connections between people.
  • Statutory services.
  • Motivation
  • Accessing services
  • Finding out about services

The research showed that what may not be a barrier to someone without a mental health issue in accessing a service may present a significant obstacle to someone with a mental health issue because their motivation might be low and therefore they do not have the requisite inner resources to overcome it.

It was also found was that the gaps are all intertwined with each other; in particular, a strong theme which came out of the data is that overarching all of the ‘gaps’ is the need to improve connections between people; building social relationships, networks and ties underpins anything else that might be done.

People are motivated by interest, by enjoying something and by getting something out of it (including a very strong desire to ‘put something back’ into society). Offering opportunities for people to do things they are interested in, and building ways for as many people as possible to access them, is working towards improving wellbeing.

Child Health and Wellbeing Survey

For the results of the Child Health and Wellbeing Survey see the Child Health and Wellbeing Survey section.

Are we meeting the needs?

Patients with a diagnosis - Obtaining an accurate diagnosis for a mental illness is not easy. Often a period of time for careful assessment is necessary to ensure a correct and accurate diagnosis is made. A diagnosis can be useful in helping an individual to understand their own condition and access appropriate support, such as social care. It can also be helpful for health professionals to access the appropriate guidance for a particular condition, e.g. NICE guidelines on schizophrenia.

In Q1 of the financial year 2013/14, 1.2% of people in B&NES in contact with mental health services had a secondary care diagnosis. This is significantly lower than the England average of 17.8%.60

Patients with a comprehensive care plan - Patients diagnosed with a mental illness should have a documented primary care consultation with a plan for care, especially in the event of a relapse. This consultation may include the views of their relatives or carers where appropriate. Up to half of people who have a serious mental illness are seen only in a primary care setting. For these patients, it is important that the primary care team takes responsibility for discussing and documenting a care plan in their primary care record.

In the financial year 2012/13, 91.3% of patients in B&NES on the mental health register had a comprehensive care plan agreed between individuals, their family and/or carers documented in their records. This is significantly higher than England with 87.3%. 61

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies is an NHS programme offering evidence-based interventions to treat people with depression and anxiety disorders. The programme was created to offer patients a routine and timely first-line treatment, combined with medication where appropriate. 62

In the B&NES IAPT service a total of 1427 individual cases were seen for a first appointment in the financial year 2011-12. 7254 hours were spent actively treating clients and 1076 clients left or completed therapy.63

Success rates for the IAPT service are good with 92% of those accessing the service in 2011/12 experiencing an improvement in mental health scores. 64 

In B&NES in the financial year 2012/13, 47% of people leaving treatment as part if the IAPT programme were considered to be moving to recovery. This is similar to the England average of 45.9%. The aim is to have at least 50% of people leaving IAPT during 2014/15 having recovered.65

Stepping Stones Project 66 67 - aims to support families where there are parental mental health needs, it was set up in January 2013. It has staff from Children Services and Mental Health Services.  It works with families with varying mental health difficulties some of whom are under secondary mental health services and some who do not meet threshold for this. It provides one-to-one support for both, including signposting to alternative support agencies.

Stepping Stones tries to help families in Bath and North East Somerset better understand and manage the effects of parental mental health difficulties on family relationships, with particular emphasis on children. The service aims to provide a sustainable platform for families to direct and manage their mental health thus reducing the impact this has upon their children. This includes some one-to-one work with children helping them to understand their parent’s mental health and bringing this into whole family work opening up communication between children and parents. 

The project aims to enable parents, their children and professionals to work together in various activities in a one-to one and family basis and through groups such as the Stepping Stones Club sessions and Peer Support Groups. 

 

  • The Stepping Stones Club groups currently run for primary and pre-school children and these are activity and play based groups which facilitate strengthening attachments between parent and child through play. They aim to develop improved understanding of each other by better communication, social, emotional and thinking skills. There have been groups in both Bath and Midsomer Norton, but it is hoped that groups will be set up at various locations throughout B&NES.
  • The Peer Support Groups look at how mental health impacts on parenting, and are led by the needs of the parents.  The aim is to provide a safe and supportive opportunity for parents to discuss their mental health needs and how these impact on their family.  They try to promote and build upon parent’s self-esteem and enable individuals to develop their social networks to decrease potential feelings of social isolation. To date they have run two Peer Support Groups, one in Bath and one in Midsomer Norton.
  • The Stepping Stones Project also provides some one-to-one work with families when they are unable to attend groups

The project aims to evidence measurable outcomes based on the following criteria from BANES Effectiveness Strategy.

  • Enhanced parent/carer/adult – child relationships
  • Improved parent/carer – confidence/resilience/ health
  • Reduction in impact of trauma
  • Shared family experiences
  • Increased children’s resilience

Between January 2013 and June 2013 the Stepping Stones Project had 29 family referrals. The majority of these referrals were from Children’s Services Social Workers, but they also came from, Adult Mental Health Social Workers, Health Visitors, Children’s Centre Outreach Workers, Southside Workers and Parent Support Advisors.

Out of these 29 families 11 of them had current involvement with Adult Mental Health Teams and 18 had been allocated a Children’s Services Social Worker.  During this period there were 23 women and 6 men referred to the project.

Between January 2013 and June 2013 the children of the families that had been referred to the Stepping Stones Project were of wide range of ages, from months old to 17 years.  There were 6 families out of the 29 that had children subject to Child Protection Plans.