Mental health awareness week falls in May, and although Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) offers community services, we have strong partnerships with the local mental health trust and support this week.
LCHS also has numerous services addressing health conditions, that could have mental health implications. One such service is our new selective mutism service for children, which was immediately successful.
So what is selective mutism? It’s a severe anxiety disorder where a person can speak comfortably in some situations but is silent when other people are present or when in different environments.
It has significant impact on the child and their family and if left untreated can result in long-term poor mental health. Previously there was no service in Lincolnshire to directly support children with selective mutism.
The service has over 70 children currently receiving support. Parents or educational settings can request additional support for past patients when they require it, without having to re-refer the child.
The team supports and trains parents, carers and staff from educational settings with the knowledge and resources to support their child.
The service uses phone, video consultations and face to face visits to meet the needs of patients, ensuring those unable to travel can access care.
Raising awareness for those with selective mutism is crucial in helping these people get better access to other services. The long-term prospects, including mental health, school achievements and social
interaction can be significantly impacted for those with selective mutism.
Feedback received from parent/carers has been positive and the team won the innovation award at our staff awards last year.
Here’s an insight into a case study about a little girl. She was very chatty and loud at home but not able to speak at nursery. Information was gathered from her mum and the nursery, which indicated she had selective mutism. The little girl’s mum and nursery staff received support from the team via telephone and video consultations so they could confidently implement strategies to support her selective mutism. The little girl has now started school and is able to confidently communicate with everyone. The service was life changing for this little girl; she is thriving at school can confidently communicate with everyone there and has developed positive relationships with her peers and teachers.
This is just a snapshot of one of the many children’s therapy services at LCHS. If you’d like to read more about their services and to find out how to refer, please see the children’s therapy service website here.