The Western Health and Social Care Trust is launching a new initiative in Northern Ireland.
The Emotional Wellbeing Strategy is aimed at children and young people from pregnancy up to 19 years old, the strategy will include one for infant mental health.
It is essential for infants, children and young people to have positive emotional health and wellbeing in order to allow them to do well in later life.
Gerard McGuckian, Western Trust chairman said of the initiative: “Emotionally resilient children and young people are more able to deal with difficulties in their lives and cope with uncertainty. They are likely to do better at school, to have good relationships with family and friends and are less likely to take unnecessary risks or behave in an anti-social way.”
The Trust is already putting measures into place in order to support Infant Metntal Health including: zero tolerance for smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy, attachment-focused behaviour in pregnancy, breast-feeding and parents reading to their children.
Kieran Downey, Western Trust Director of Women’s and Children’s Services said: “An emphasis is placed on positive emotional health very early in life which will in turn improve health outcomes, life expectancy, educational and economic outcomes and reduce crimes and violence.”
Child safety, child wellbeing, family wellbeing and permanency are the four main goals that The Western Trust have put in place for children and their families.
Deirdre Mahon, Assistant Director for Family and Child Care, Western Trust said: “Research shows that relationships, particularly with family, are most important for children and young people’s wellbeing, alongside a sense of freedom, choice and autonomy for young people. We want to improve emotional health and wellbeing for all children and young people throughout the West.”
“Emotionally healthy children are able to develop and learn through their good or bad feelings and experiences, make friends, enjoy their own company and play and have fun.”
This strategy completes the Trust’s existing Infant Mental Health Strategy that was launched last year.