‘Ground-breaking’ Resilience Project supports children and young people across Cardiff and Vale

“The Mental Health Foundation has played a key role in project managing and evaluating The Resilience Project, with the aim of preventing mental health issues developing in susceptible children and young people who have experienced adverse childhood experiences. The Resilience Project has enabled 177 families to access prompt and much needed, life-changing support for their children when displaying symptoms of mental health distress - 90% of parents said they felt confident using what they had learned during an intervention session in their everyday life. It has provided professional consultation for 181 children and young people who have not previously accessed children’s mental health services. This daring and pioneering project has successfully established partnerships across health, social care, education and third sector; training 938 education staff, including school nurses, to enable them to support families more readily across Cardiff and the Vale. It has demonstrated that putting accessible, systemic, trauma-informed resources in ‘up-stream’ to support non-health staff and the families they work with, can indeed help prevent children and young people – this in turn can help prevent mental health issues developing in the first place. We are keen to see this model scaled up to support families right across Wales.”

‘Ground-breaking’ Resilience Project supports children and young people across Cardiff and Vale.

The Regional Partnership Board Cardiff and Vale is delighted fund the Resilience Project, thanks to the Welsh Government’s Transformation Fund. It has helped children and young people to improve their mental health and wellbeing before they reach crisis point and has been described as ‘ground-breaking’ - Evaluation Report (Welsh) - Evaluation Report (English)

Adverse childhood experiences and distressing events have long term implications on people throughout their lives. Many children and young people who have been affected cannot access support through traditional mental health services because they do not have a mental health diagnosis. In addition, mental health expertise tends to be found within health services, rather than in the community. The Resilience Project aims to ensure that children and young people can access support in the community, when they need it by:

  • Giving accessible, fast support to parents whose children do not meet the criteria for mental health services
  • Building mental health capacity, knowledge, and confidence within the education system
  • Promoting joint working between health and education.

The Project has created a set of easily accessible resources around common mental health and wellbeing issues. It provides consultation and training to school staff, as well as offering direct group and individualised support to young people, schools, and families.

Dr Katy Bowen, Clinical psychologist and Resilience Project Lead, commented: “The Resilience Project uses an innovative way of working, bringing together health, social services and education as well as the third sector and involves a range of professionals including Clinical Psychologists, an Occupational Therapist, Art Psychotherapist and Graduate Mental Health Workers. It provides support and training to education professionals and families whose children are experiencing distress, which can impact their life in a range of ways. We hope by building the knowledge and confidence of more people to step in to support these children at an early stage, we can help them to deal with distressing experiences they have experienced and avoid its worst impacts.”

The Mental Health Foundation has evaluated the first 18 months of the project, October 2019 to March 2021 and published a Report with its findings - Evaluation Report (Welsh) - Evaluation Report (English). The report includes information on the delivery model, as well as in-depth case studies and feedback from families and partner organisations which support recommendations for the project moving forward.

During this time, the Resilience Project:

  • Provided a professional consultation for 181 children and young people
  • Supported 177 families
  • Trained 938 education staff, including school nurses
  • Developed 45 resources for educators, parents/carers and children and young people.
  • Produced 13 YouTube videos that have been watched over 2000 times.

Notes to Editors i i The Resilience Project is a Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) project in partnership with Mental Health Foundation, Education and Social Services. Welsh Government Transformation Funding has been provided via the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Region Partnership Board.