What we do

Living with a health condition or injury can be a very challenging experience for children, young people and families, and can impact on mood, wellbeing and quality of life.

We are a team of clinical psychologists and specialist social workers who are all trained to understand how people think, feel and behave. We offer confidential emotional support to help you manage challenges that arise from living with a health condition. We also work with medical and surgical teams within the hospital, including your doctors and nurses and sometimes other staff you might see (e.g. speech and language therapy and physiotherapy).

Our mission

Developing understanding, inspiring hope, supporting change.

The Clinical Health Psychology Service is committed to improving the psychological care of people in Bradford who have a physical health condition and are accessing medical care within Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Please contact the department if you would like to find out more about the services we offer, or you would like to discuss making a referral.

What can we help with?

We see children up to the age of 12 and their families who are under the care of a paediatrician in the Child Development Centre for Autism Spectrum Condition assessments, behaviour support and difficulties with feeding and sleep.

We also see children and families up to the age of 19 who are coping with chronic and physical health conditions.

Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) assessments

Autism is a spectrum condition that influences how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. People with autism may have difficulties with social interaction, communication, rigid thinking and repetitive behaviour.

Families who have concerns about a child should speak to their GP who can make a referral to a paediatrician (a doctor who manages health conditions affecting infants, children and young people). The paediatrician will listen to their concerns and consider a referral to our team for a full assessment.

The Autism Assessment Team has very limited involvement after assessment. Instead, we will make recommendations and a copy of our report is sent to all relevant professionals. We will sometimes make referrals on to other services that we think would be helpful for your child or family.

For further information about Autism, please see the following website: autism.org.uk

Behaviour support

We meet with children and families to offer advice and support on managing behaviour for children with a neurodevelopmental disability or chronic health condition.

Sleep support

We offer assessment and support with managing sleep difficulties to develop better sleep habits for children with a neurodevelopmental disability or chronic health condition.

Feeding or eating difficulties

We meet with children and families to provide support with adjusting to a different diet associated with a health condition and managing feeding difficulties due to sensory issues.

Adjustment to diagnosis or illness

We support a wide range of difficulties relating to different medical conditions, such as:

  • Difficult feelings such as distress, anxiety or low mood relating to a medical condition or treatment
  • Coping with treatments that a young person and family may feel worried about or find difficult, including coping with needles, taking tablets, having surgery and other medical tests
  • Coping with how a young person’s condition affects their life, including school, family and friendships
  • Managing symptoms such as pain, tiredness and bodily changes
  • Managing the transition to a specialist adult service

Cognitive assessment

Medical teams sometimes find it helpful to gain an understanding of a child’s learning needs and thinking skills (e.g. memory, attention, verbal skills) to help with the management of a health condition. Our team can support this by assessing a child and making recommendations for support and suggesting strategies that will help improve quality of life.

Support for children who experience bereavement

Useful websites

Useful apps

  • Brili – Brili helps kids succeed in their daily routines by combining visual schedules, voice prompts and more into a mobile app game
  • Catch It – Learn how to look at problems in a different way, turn negative thoughts into positive ones and improve mental wellbeing
  • Chill Panda – Learn to relax and manage your worries
  • Clear Fear – Anxiety management
  • Cove – Create a piece of music to explain how you are feeling
  • eQuoo: Emotional Fitness Game – Create an avatar and learn emotional skills and psychological hacks
  • Headspace – Relaxation and meditation
  • PZIZZ – Aims to help you stop your mind racing, get to sleep and stay asleep
  • SuperBetter – Helps to build resilience

Support services

Anxiety UK

AWARE (Airedale and Wharfedale Autism Resource)

  Bradford Bereavement Support

Childline (for children and teenagers)

 Cruse Bereavement Care

  • Phone 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm)
  • cruse.org.uk

First Response Bradford – For urgent mental health support

Mind – Guide-line Bradford – a confidential telephone helpline providing support and guidance

Samaritans – Providing emotional support to anyone in distress

Winston’s wish – A child bereavement support service

Young Minds – phone line for parents seeking guidance to support young people

Interested in joining our team?

Our talented and compassionate staff help care for a diverse population, making Bradford a special place to work. Choosing the right people is key to our success. If you think you’ve got what it takes to join us, please email careers@bthft.nhs.uk to discover more about our latest opportunities.

Children and coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has brought many challenges to us all. This can lead us to feel anxious, worried, isolated, overwhelmed, angry, exhausted and a whole multitude of other emotions.

Children are very intuitive and will likely pick up on this uncertainty from the world around them and so may also be experiencing some of these feelings.

Throughout the pandemic it is important we look after our mental wellbeing and the mental wellbeing of our families.

Below are some very simple steps that can be incorporated into day-to-day life.

  • Encourage your children to discuss their fears and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings, however they are feeling let them know that it’s okay to feel this way. Try to avoid any judgements on feelings.
  • Give your child specific things to do to feel in control. This can be as simple as what you are going to have for dinner or washing their hands.
  • Maintain contact with loved ones. Social isolation can be really difficult, setting aside some time each week to call or video chat with family and friends who you don’t live with can be really helpful. Your children might be missing these people too!
  • Exercise regularly. Maintaining physical well-being is as important as looking after your mental well-being. Try going for some local walks (in line with Government advice) or join online workouts in the house such as Joe Wickes teaches PE
  • If your child asks you a question and you don’t know the answer say so. It’s okay to not be able to answer everything that they ask. This could be used as a time to look into things together.
  • Limit exposure to covid-19 information. Limit time on social media. If your child wants to know more there are several child-friendly news sources you could watch together such as BBC Newsround. Watching these with your child/children means that you can put news stories into context and can explain things to them.
  • Create a new routine. The response to covid-19 is likely to have completely changed your usual routine which can be difficult for everyone. Sit with your family and develop a new routine to keep a sense of normality.
  • Be mindful of what you are discussing around others. Children can absorb how others are feeling or can take what you say very literally. Be mindful of what is discussed around your children and how they may make sense of this.

It is important to identify things that work for you and for your family. Everyone is different and will cope differently, and that’s ok!

We have collated a number of resources below that we feel could be helpful in supporting your well-being and explaining covid-19 to your children.

There are also some ideas around activities that could be completed to help pass the time while aiding your mental health. There are a number of organisations and support services that are currently offering help, a collection of links for these services can be found below.

Maintaining routine

It is really difficult when your usual routine is changed, especially for children who thrive from routine. Below are some resources that may be useful to help with bringing in some structure again that you can work on together.

Activities

It can be really difficult to think of ways to entertain your children while looking after them at home every day. We have collated a number of activities and links to websites/groups that offer lots of ideas to keep you and your little ones busy.

Coronavirus resources for children

There is so much information available at this time that it can be difficult to know where to look for information to help explain the current pandemic to children. The resources below explain what coronavirus is and are all aimed at children of different ages and understanding.

Supporting wellbeing

It’s important to think about both your and your children’s wellbeing. Below are some resources you may find helpful.

Who we are

 
Mark Pitkethly Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Sylvie Collins Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Vicki Lee Clinical Psychologist
Sam Carruthers Clinical Psychologist
Kerrie Channer Clinical Psychologist
Sarah Oliver Clinical Psychologist
Claire Mitchell Clinical Psychologist
Mahboob Hussain Specialist Social Worker
Stephen Giles Specialist Social Worker
Elin Margetts Assistant Psychologist
Daisy Tucker Assistant Psychologist
Sam Tyrrell Assistant Psychologist
Samara Aziz Assistant Psychologist
Rosie Hatton Assistant Psychologist
Hannah Rowland Assistant Psychologist

Please note: We are not a crisis intervention team or mental health service. For support in a crisis or with general mental health needs, please contact Bradford’s First Response team on 01274 221181, or the Bradford Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team.

However, if the young person is known to the Child Psychology team, please contact us if you would like further advice as we can support you to access appropriate services if required.

Contact details

If you would like any further information about Clinical Health Psychology please contact the department between 8am and 5pm, Monday – Friday. Please leave a message on our answerphone if you are calling outside these times.

Address
Top floor, Extension Block
St Luke’s Hospital
Little Horton Lane
Bradford
BD5 ONA

Patient enquiries
Telephone: 01274 365176
Fax: 01274 365177

We use the BT text relay service for patients who are deaf or hearing impaired. To contact us ring 18001 01274 365176.

Accessibility

Please see the AccessAble pages on the Psychology department at St Luke’s Hospital.

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FAQs

How can I access the service?

Young people are usually referred by their paediatrician or another member of their healthcare team, such as a specialist nurse.

Is there a waiting time for appointments?

We will try to see you as soon as possible; however, due to the high demand for our services there is likely to be a wait for an appointment. If there is a wait, we will try to let you know how long this is likely to be.

How many sessions will I have?

The number of sessions people need varies. This will be discussed and decided between families and the clinician. It is very important that families attend planned sessions with clinicians in order for them to be as effective as possible. If a session needs to be cancelled, it is important the department is informed as soon as possible using the contact details provided on the appointment letter.

Where will I be seen?

Outpatient appointments are mainly held in the Child Development Centre at St Luke’s Hospital in Bradford. Inpatients may be seen on the ward, in a private room where possible.

What about confidentiality?

Confidentiality is very important to us. For more information see http://nww.bradfordhospitals.int/departments/psychology/Pages/Confidentiality.aspx

Can you provide an interpreter?

If English is not your first language we are able to provide an interpreter for sessions to allow families and clinicians to communicate more effectively.  Our interpreters are employed by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and work within the same confidentiality boundaries as us. Families should let us know if this support is required when they are referred.

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