Posted: Sun 26th Jun 2016

Support Available To Bereaved Children In Pembrokeshire

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jun 26th, 2016

Families in Pembrokeshire are being reassured that bereavement services for children and young people dealing with grief are still available in county, currently offering support to a number of children. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Earlier this month, the Sandy Bear bereavement service* was integrated into the county’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service, which offers a wide range of support to address emotional health difficulties for young people and children. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

This includes dedicated, professional and evidence based support from a range of different professionals (multi disciplinary team) for children with emotional distress, including bereavement. It includes bereavement counselling, art therapy, family therapy, health advice and support from a community psychiatric nurse and mental health nurse. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Head of Performance and Community for Pembrokeshire County Council James White explained: “The Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service is well placed to provide additional support for our children and young people over and above what is available through mainstream and statutory services in health and education. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It aims to provide a stable service, jointly commissioned between ourselves and the health board, providing early support to improve and sometimes prevent escalation of physical or emotional health difficulties. It is important to stress that the service is provided here in Pembrokeshire with no requirement for families to travel any further than was already the case prior to the change.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Head of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services and Psychological Therapies Angela Lodwick added: “It is an integrated model with a wide range of professional skills available by a co-located team, five days a week. This enables the team to be able to offer a range of therapeutic interventions like group, family and art therapy, and some short term interventions like cognitive behaviour therapy or brief solutions focused therapy. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The team also provide emotional and mental health assessments, as well as training and consultation to other agencies on emotional health and wellbeing. Importantly, the team can at a local level provide early identification and referral onto specialist services in areas such as mental health and paediatrics.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Sandy Bear service ceased practice on June 10 2016, when it was integrated into the Emotional Health and Wellbeing services, following reductions in national funding. Children were in advance referred into the alternative service, supported by a bereavement co-ordinator. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Staff have been integrated into the new service, or are in continued discussions with the health board about re-deployment. The health board is open to further discussion with supporters about the use of the Sandy Bear brand. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board also continue to work together on other projects to support the local population with emotional health and wellbeing needs. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

For example, current developments include provision of training for Emotional Learning Support Assistants (ELSA) within primary and secondary schools, with 63 staff trained to date; and strengthening the School Counselling Services provided in secondary schools, but also available to primary-aged children, which supports about 600 children a year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There is also a range of other services available from those provided in hospital, GP surgeries and other community settings, to support services provided by voluntary and charitable organisations, some of which are listed below. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

* A farewell event for the Sandy Bear service is being organised and will be held at The Plough Inn in Sageston, Tenby, on 2 July, from 1pm. Entry is free (camping optional on £5 a night) with lots of fun including bouncy castles, an inflatable slide, organised fames and a photo booth to have your photo taken with Sandy Bear. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

From 5pm there will be a children’s disco and entertainment and from 7pm Neil Thomas vocal entertainer will be on hand with disco and karaoke. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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