Trafford family mental health support service expands to Rochdale borough

Date published: 17 November 2023

A Trafford Community Interest Company which supports families with their children’s mental health and wellbeing challenges has expanded to the Rochdale borough.

Calm Connections was created by Emma Lenihan, a mum of two from Manchester six years ago. After experiencing her own children going through mental health challenges, Emma found that not only were there limited resources to support her children but there was next to nothing to offer support to her or the family as a unit. This is where Calm Connections was born. 

Calm Connections is working in partnership with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale and has recently begun its new project which has been named Emerge.

Emerge currently includes parent support lead Lou Riley, who offers one-to-one support, signposting to the Emerge mentoring scheme or to other relevant services and group guidance to parents or carers of children with mental health and wellbeing challenges.

Lou said: “Being a parent or carer of a child with mental health challenges can feel isolating and uncertain. We can help parents and carers navigate this path - offering a non-judgmental listening ear, guidance and support when they need it the most.”

Emerge is currently recruiting mentors led by the peer mentor lead, Jen Clarkson, who said: “The mentors play a crucial role in offering one-to-one support to families in need.

“We are looking for parents or carers with lived experience to train with us to become a mentor. As well as training, mentors are offered monthly supervision and one-to-one support.”

Charlotte Mitchell, Assistant Director for Integration and Health for Rochdale Borough Council’s Children's Services, said: “For many years I have listened to the parents of children with mental health challenges and wanted to develop an offer that supports their emotional health.

“Caring for a child at mental health crisis can be exhausting, heart-breaking and extremely worrying. Sometimes parents face fear of stigma and feel extremely isolated. Services like Calm Connections offer invaluable support and allow parents to gain support for themselves and their child in a safe, non-judgmental way.

“Parents that care for children 24/7 a day, are the professional of their own child and if they are not supported this impacts upon the child. It is a privilege to work with this amazing organisation and I am thrilled that parents and carers in Rochdale now have support.”

If you feel that you could benefit from support please contact or if you have lived experience and would like to train as a mentor contact

You can also visit the website or the Facebook page, Calm Connections CIC.

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