Local MP and Secretary of State for children, schools and families, Ed Balls, has today officially opened a new mental health service in the Wakefield district. The service has been set up to help 14 to 35 year olds cope with the early symptoms of psychosis. The service is run by South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust and has been developed in partnership with Wakefield Primary Care Trust.
The service, called ‘Insight’, has been operating from a purpose designed facility in Castleford for the past year. It works with people who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, a first episode of psychosis and aims to support individuals and their carers on the road to recovery. It also seeks to reduce the stigma of mental illness, and to offer health promotion and education.
The young people who are supported by the service often have a complex range of problems, for example substance abuse and offending behaviour.
The service also offers carer support and education groups as well as helping individuals and families cope with stress. The service employs a range of staff including a number of individuals who have experienced mental health problems, or who have cared for someone with a mental health problem, as the Trust recognises individuals as experts through experience.
Ed Balls attended the event with his wife Yvette Cooper, MP for Pontefract and Castleford. He officially opened the service after taking the opportunity to meet service users and staff and look around the facility.
He said, "Insight is an excellent example of how services are responding to the needs of local young people in Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees areas. It provides flexible, timely and effective support as and when it is needed, supporting families, helping to reduce stress and enabling young people to take control of their own lives.
"Having good mental health enables children, young people and adults to make the most of their opportunities in life. But we know that for a minority of children and young people, they are at increased risk of developing mental health problems than their peers and 10 per cent of children and young people have clinically defined mental health problems.
"Recently there have been significant improvements in the delivering of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) as a result of increased funding in this area. But we know there is still more to be done which is why I and Alan Johnson have commissioned a joint review of children’s mental health services."