To mark Children’s Mental Health Week, the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new website.
The trust said children and young people across Sussex can now get advice about mental health and wellbeing from a dedicated NHS website, created by Sussex Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). View the website here.
A spokesman said: "It will help children and young people across the county learn more about their mental health and emotional wellbeing, and how they can get support.
"The site also contains useful information for parents and those working with children and young people, and has been divided into three areas to make it easy to navigate: Children and Young People, Parents and Carers and Professionals.
"Each area provides information and top tips about how to manage and where to get help and support for some of the key mental health difficulties and concerns that young people might experience as they grow up, including anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating difficulties and psychosis."
Jacqui Batchelor, deputy service director for Sussex CAMHS and Dr Elaine Creith, clinical lead for Sussex CAMHS, said the trust is 'delighted to be launching this new website'.
They added: "The project all started from listening to young people who said that they wanted to have a website which was just for them, and not aimed at adults.
"We made a real effort to take their views on board and held creative workshops with young people from across Sussex who have used our services so that they could tell us what was important for them, what the website should include and what it should look like.
“Young people have been involved in the development of the website at every stage and their contributions have influenced decisions such as the colours, the illustration themes and wording used."
It comes after it was revealed that the number of under 18 year olds referred to mental health services in West Sussex is at a five-year high, according to figures released by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust after an FOI request. Read more here.
The trust said the launch of the website is part of a 'wider plan to broaden and develop our CAMHS services'.
Dr Creith added: "We will use the weather theme to update our resources to make them more colourful and inviting for the children, young people, families and carers that we work with.
“We will continue to develop the website based on national changes and local feedback received so that it remains a relevant and useful resource for local children and young people to find out more about what they can to do to maintain their mental health and emotional wellbeing and how to seek help if they think they need more specialist local support.”
The trust spokesman said the new site uses 'weather as a metaphor for different moods and emotions', with a focus on the 'everyday tools people use to protect themselves'.
"For example, if it’s raining outside an umbrella and a raincoat offer a solution," the spokesman explained.
"The same is true when someone isn’t feeling themselves, there are simple tools and techniques that can help, and the website offers young people advice on what they can try and might find useful.
"For more information about the other specialist services that Sussex Partnership provides across the South of England, go to www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk."