A CARE trust is backing a national campaign spotlighting children's mental health.

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust has pledged its support for the week-long initiative, staged by the charity Place2Be.

The venture, which runs until Sunday (Feb 11), stresses the importance of identifying mental health issues as early as possible to provide effective treatment and recovery.

Around half of all mental health illnesses begin by the age of 14.

A recent Care Quality Commission review found that nationally some young people needing access to mental health services faced waits of up to 18 months.

But the care trust is bucking the trend, with a maximum wait of 11 weeks for routine referrals and 24 hours for urgent cases.

The organisation has set-up specialist teams within its child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), which are tackling the issue.

Grainne Eloi, the trust's interim head of mental health services, said: "A wide range of initiatives to support emotional wellbeing for children and young people has been rolled out by the trust.

"These ensure that every young person who needs mental health support gets effective treatment tailored to meet their needs, whether it be urgent crisis support or help to manage life's ups and downs.

"We set-up a specialist eating disorder team, for example, so those in need of support can be seen quickly and be offered treatment.

"There is also a psychological therapy team working with children with mental health difficulties who are looked after or adopted.

"With the majority of referrals that come into CAMHS, that don't fall within those categories, we have assessment clinics to establish which service will be best.

"We've also introduced evening clinics for children and families.

"This has been a huge success, offering greater flexibility and enabling children and families to access support without it impacting upon school or work."

The trust is also working with schools in a bid to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness among young people.

A network of 'champions' has been established, with more than 60 schools signed-up to the scheme.

Senior members of teaching staff are offered additional training about emotional health and wellbeing.

Specialist advice and consultation sessions are staged by primary mental health workers.

Mrs Eloi said: "This equips both teachers and young people with knowledge and skills about mental health and wellbeing, how to talk about it and what can help.

"This had led to young people feeling increasingly more comfortable accessing help and looking at mental health as something not to be ashamed of."

Other initiatives include, in partnership with charity Creative Support and Bradford Council, a through-the-night urgent mental health service for vulnerable young people.

The provision is open year-round between 10pm and 10am and can be accessed through the trust's first response service.

"We want to continue to help those most vulnerable before they become seriously unwell," added Mrs Eloi.

"Whether it's a teenager with an eating disorder or a young person whose life has been overshadowed by mental health difficulties, such as depression and anxiety, we're committed to ensuring those who experience issues are offered caring support and are left feeling better-equipped to manage their mental health in the future."