'Team of Life' tool supporting young people’s mental health receives national innovation funding

by CWP News - 20 April 2016

A new therapeutic tool designed to support children and young people’s mental health will receive a boost of over £130,000 following Health Education England (HEE) and Department of Health funding.

The tool, called the Team of Life Kit, was created by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP), and encourages young people to develop awareness of their achievements, skills and the relationships they value.

The HEE investment will enable the Trust to train health professionals, teachers, and student peer mentors to use the tool, benefiting a wider proportion of the local young population. The investment will also facilitate a thorough research evaluation of therapeutic outcomes led by Dr Helen Sharp in the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool.   

The Team of Life Kit project aims to promote resilience in vulnerable young people at early secondary school age - a key time of transition. It consists of a narrative therapy approach, and uses sporting metaphors to help young people to recognise the strength and resilience in their ‘life teams’. The approach was originally developed by the Dulwich Centre Foundation to support former child soldiers in Uganda.

Dr Vicky Eames, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Team of Life project lead, said: "This is a very exciting time for the project. There is a lot of interest in emotional wellbeing and resilience within schools and this funding will help us to ensure we find sustainable ways to support schools to deliver this innovative intervention as well as the opportunity to demonstrate effectiveness in improving outcomes for children and young people.”

Sheena Cumiskey, CWP Chief Executive, said: “I’m thrilled that the Team of Life project has been recognised for its innovative approach. The programme is already helping many vulnerable young people locally, and this funding will help us to expand that reach even further. As a Trust we are committed to supporting new ideas that will make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of Education and Quality at Health Education England added: “We are excited by this initiative as it will provide an ideal opportunity to introduce and enhance services to transform the lives of children and young people.

“This additional funding means that children, young people and their families can get the tailored support they need through the delivery of improved, more accessible mental health and wellbeing services to ensure they are not only well-supported, but thrive, which will transform the care and lives of many across the country.”

The Team of Life tool is a fun and interactive group-based intervention. It brings children and young people together in teams, identifying the ‘team-mates’ who make up the key support people in their lives. The programme highlights skills for ‘tackling problems’, ‘avoiding obstacles’ and ‘scoring goals’ in life, sharing and celebrating stories of achievement, hope and survival to support them in ‘scoring’ their life goals and overcoming obstacles.

For more information about Team of Life visit CWP’s child and adolescent mental health website www.mymind.org.uk

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