Families and children with mental health issues in Tower Hamlets are to be targeted by the council in a new approach that focuses on building healthy relationships and promoting physical wellbeing.
A new strategy released for services to families and children in Tower Hamlets will offer support to individuals with mental health issues.
On Monday, October 28, 100 children and parents gathered at Meath Garden’s Children’s Centre for a family fun day where they could hear about the borough’s plans for the future.
A key aim of the ‘Every Chance for Every Child Strategy’ is to help families to build healthier relationships and support good mental and physical health.
In 2019, 16% of the boroughs population reported suffering from anxiety and depression, which is the highest in London, whilst 6.4% were reported to have long term mental health problems.
Of these reports, 4,300 5-16 year olds had a mental health disorder which also held the highest number across the whole of London.
The strategy claims it will “develop ways to work with parents, carers and trusted adults (including for those who are less engaged) to encourage them to support children and young people to access opportunities.”
The council has said it will provide training to parents and professionals that promote stranger danger, road safety, e-safety, safeguarding, adverse childhood experiences and a public health approach to violence. They will hold discussions around bullying, hate crimes, gangs and serious youth violence, VAWG, the impact of exploitation and the use of substances to facilitate it.
This comes alongside the council’s work with the Community Safety Partnership to provide a platform for young people to share their views in a bid to identify where changes need to be made.
The council said they will widen their partnership to involve services like housing, schools and probation to further identify and support health and wellbeing concerns. This will allow for an education and awareness programme to promote science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) through play and early education providers.
The 2019-2024 strategy is being launched as part of The Tower Hamlets Partnership, a Partnership Executive Group (PEG) which consists senior members of the Council, the NHS, Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade, Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service, Queen Mary University, Tower Hamlets College, East London Business Alliance, Tower Hamlets Housing Forum, Canary Wharf Group, Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum and local school representatives.
The ‘healthy families’ branch of the strategy ensures that families and children are also physically healthy, as for example Tower Hamlets has the fourth highest level of obesity in London. The council have created a Play charter to create more safe places for children to play and engage in physical exercise as this contributes to the early stages of childhood development. The council will also implement physical health strategies, such as dental health and child obesity plans that are now being developed.
Alex Nelson, Voluntary Sector Children and Youth Forum Co-ordinator at the Volunteer Centre, Tower Hamlets, said: “This strategy sets out a strong plan that will define and measure the actions that the council and partners will take to serve children, young people and families in Tower Hamlets. The voluntary sector and partners have been central in developing the plan and I welcome its potential to make a difference to the lives of children, young people and families.”