Life coaches planned as part of £500k children’s mental health improvements in Leeds

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The leader of Leeds City Council wants to employ a team of life coaches as part of a £500,000 scheme to help young people in the city suffering from mental health problems.

The commitment follows an announcement made during Leeds City Council’s budget meeting last week, as Coun Judith Blake (Lab, Middleton Park) said many young people struggle with mental health difficulties.

The 500,000 of funding was first announced in a council meeting in Leeds Civic Hall last week.

The 500,000 of funding was first announced in a council meeting in Leeds Civic Hall last week.

It is claimed the extra money would be used to make it easier for young people in Leeds to access support. It would also fund the expansion of the council’s therapeutic social work team to support a team of life coaches who will work directly with young people to help improve their emotional well-being.

Coun Blake said: “We are stepping in to help fill that gap, as we recognise how mental illness can hold young people back in education, training and employment.

“Currently there are some great support services in Leeds, but it’s very difficult to know the right place to turn as an adult, never mind as a child.

“Our investment will help ensure young people know where to turn and it will help expand the front line team that work with young people to improve their emotional well-being.”

A statement from the Leeds City Council leader’s office stated: “This approach will enable better mapping and signposting, as well as increasing the mental health support available to young people in the places where they already go in their communities.

“This will complement existing services provided by the council, the NHS and voluntary sector, by making sure children know where and how they can access support services.”

The scheme has been costed in Leeds City Council’s budget for 2019/20. A report on the scheme will be brought to the council’s executive board in due course.

The council’s increased focus on children’s mental health follows news an announcement last month from Education Secretary Damian Hinds that up to 370 schools in England would take part in trials to test different approaches to supporting young people’s mental health.

These are set to include mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to help them regulate their emotions. The study will run until 2021.