21 November 2018

The Trust has partnered with Luton Council for Adult Mental Health interventions, as part of the Family Safeguarding programme.

Chipo Chengeta (Adult MH Lead), Trudy Wrake (FSM Manager) and Nomsa Cheuka (Adult MH Practitioner) share messages on the contribution of their team to keep families together.

Background

Hertfordshire County Council developed and implemented the Family Safeguarding Model (FSM) across the county in 2015. The Department for Education (DfE) awarded funds to a total of five local authorities, including Hertfordshire, to extend and implement the model in their areas. Luton was one of the five local authorities who won the bid and was awarded £2.6m in funding, to implement the Hertfordshire model over a two year period.

ELFT along with other partner agencies such as Change Grow Live (CGL) (substance misuse service), BeNCH CRC (probation service), Bedfordshire Police and other key agencies, signed the pledge at an inauguration event on 27 November 2017. The FSM adult mental health practitioners commenced work in March 2018.

The team is comprised of practitioners, who are social workers and community mental health nurses, with the prospect of being joined by a clinical psychologist. The team is based within the five children’s social work teams in Luton Council.

Our role within the teams

We support the adults in families to better manage their mental well-being, by improving their social functioning and being an active participant in their recovery.

All children, even very young children, are sensitive to the environment around them. Thus, their parent’s state of mind has an impact on them. We therefore encourage parents to engage in activities that help to improve their self-esteem, motivation and confidence, so they are able to make positive, sustainable changes in their day to day lives and that of their children.

Our work sees us undertaking full mental state assessments, motivational interviewing with related interventions, including signposting to relevant third and private sector organisations.

We understand that being a parent with a mental illness is particularly challenging. Many are aware that their disorder affects their children or unborn child, even if they do not fully understand the complexities.

As a team, we are well placed to provide advice and support and bring mental health awareness, not only to the adults within the family, but also to partner organisations whom we work alongside, namely children’s social workers, domestic violence and substance misuse specialists. We believe that better mental health equals better parenting.

What partner agencies are saying?

The first anniversary of the Family Safeguarding Model in Luton, was celebrated on the 19 September 2018.

The FSM Adult Mental Health team received positive feedback from partner agencies for their “positive contribution in terms of the work they are doing with (complex cases).”

Another added that “having mental health practitioners on the team has made our work much more ‘joined up’ and they are a real pleasure to work with.”

We, as a mental health team, are proud to be part of the excellence which Luton partners are fostering and as such, the Luton FSM has been recognised and won the Luton Excellence (LEx) awards in 2018 for its partnership and joined-up working.

Feedback on service

“I wish I had this support sooner. I never used to take interest in my appearance or the needs of my family. I feel better about myself now as a result of the support from my mental health worker. She has helped me focus on important things that had previously not seemed important."

"I now know what my warning signs or triggers are and knowing how to deal with it has made such a difference to my family’s life. I will pay more attention to it now and seek help sooner. The support has helped me to learn that I am not alone in the way that I am feeling. With support, there is hope for the future.”

How are we doing so far?

We have provided parents with a safe environment to understand their mental health; the impact unstable mental health has on their wellbeing, their children and families.

All stakeholders involved are committed to continue to collaborate together to keep more families together safely.

We aim to reduce the levels of neglect, physical and emotional harm, where necessary to ensure children are able to grow and develop in a safe environment.