Mum creates networking event to connect mental health services

Emma Lenihan

A mum is campaigning to connect mental health services for children and young people in Trafford to promote early intervention and prevent families from reaching a crisis point.

Emma Lenihan has organised a networking event and exhibition – RESET Trafford – that will be youth-led to support families and the wellbeing of young people struggling with their mental health.

The mum-of-two teenage boys decided to run the event after getting to crisis point with her eldest son, who was sectioned at the age of 16, a few days before her 50th birthday last year.

The event will be held in September at Hotel Football near Old Trafford her 51st birthday to mark how far they have come as a family but also to bring services together in Trafford to help make improvements for other children and young people in the borough.

She said: “There is a rise in mental health problems with children and young people and their needs are not being met.

“Our world was turned upside down when my son was sectioned at 16 – but it did not need to get to this crisis point.

“He was first seen by services at 13 but was not seen as a priority. Early intervention and how these services collaborate is key, so it does not have to get to this for other families.

“Waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is putting the lives of young people at risk – but this is not a blame game – all the support workers my son had were passionate about what they did – but there are other ways that can ease this burden with early support from other services that families are not made aware of and professionals don’t even know exist on their doorstep.”

Emma runs social enterprise Calm Connections that works with families to strengthen relationships and support young people’s wellbeing and positive mental health– which she was inspired to start after her own family situation having worked as an early years teacher for 34 years.

She added: “I want parents to not feel so helpless and isolated when trying to support their children and young people and not to be made to feel like they are to blame.

“Finger-pointing and being made to feel you have done something wrong is not helpful, and I would urge all families, education bodies and health services to attend so we can all work together.”

The RESET Trafford event will bring services, parents and young people together to share skills, knowledge and experiences and a 100 Voices exhibition from the young people themselves. It is free to families and professionals will be held on Wednesday, September 11, at Football Hotel between 10am and 6pm.