Voice of a Child: academic speaks at conference to improve child mental health

Date 11.11.2015

Dr Eunice Lumsden, Head of Early Years at the University of Northampton, spoke at a conference that aimed to bring together professionals from law, social work and education to discuss ideas on improving child mental health.

The Voice of a Child conference took place on Saturday 7 November at Althorp House in Northamptonshire and considered the best way to help these children.

The Northampton based charity, KidsAid, is so concerned at the number of young people suffering a ‘toxic childhood’ as at least one in 10 of children have some form of anxiety, emotional distress or behavioural problems, according to government statistics (ONS). Other recent surveys suggest that cyber-bullying, peer pressure and exam stress are pushing that number even higher.

Earl and Countess Spencer donated the use of Althorp House for the event and hosted the speakers and delegates. Countess Spencer is a KidsAid’s patron and supports its work to provide therapy to children suffering from difficult emotions or traumatic experiences.

Dr Lumsden joined a host of high profile speakers, such as Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the first Children’s Commissioner for England, President of the BMA and honorary fellow of the University of Northampton, to talk about what it’s like for children living in the county’s care system.

Lisa Cherry, once a ‘looked after’ child in Rushden, is now an author who trains social workers, and she had the opportunity to meet Eunice again, who was her social worker 30 years ago. Sally Romain, Social Work Consultant and Trustee at KidsAid said: “I don’t think I will ever forget how moving it was to see both Eunice and Lisa in conversation. It was probably the highlight of the conference as it epitomised what our work is really all about.”

Eunice commented: “Trauma lasts a lifetime. We need to work harder to stop it happening in the first place and even harder to get the right support in place for those who have. We need to change the script so children can change theirs.”

The proceeds from the conference will support KidsAid’s therapeutic support of children and young people who have suffered abuse, bereavement, bullying or family problems.