A UNIQUE scheme targeted at preventing hundreds of young people from developing mental health problems has been praised by Richard Benyon MP.

The Emotional Health Academy, which is orchestrated by West Berkshire Council, helps people suffering with stress and anxiety by helping them manage their condition.

The EHA works closely with schools, GPs, children's centres and the police to deliver effective and timely response.

Mr Benyon saw video accounts of young people speaking frankly about how the service has changed their perspective on mental health.

He said: “So many children experiencing stress is a very sad product of our times. The complexity of life and the demands that are placed on children can be difficult for them to cope with.

“Social media also adds a relentless pressure that can take a toll on young people.

“Watching these children speak about how the EHA has helped them was a really powerful experience.

"We have been calling for this type of intervention for over 20 years, and it is working right here in West Berkshire.

"It is rightly attracting attention UK wide and beyond as others look to create their own EHAs. It is something that we should be hugely proud of and I would like to see it happening absolutely everywhere.”

Since 2016, the EHA has reached more than 1,000 children and young people through individual, group and classroom sessions.

Lynne Doherty, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Children and Young People said, “From the simplest of concepts, we are achieving the most remarkable results.

"The starting point was to take time to listen to our children and to place ourselves in locations that they had told us they would feel safe to speak such as schools and other community locations.

"The intervention is very quick and because we’re able to help when most needed, the high percentage of improvement that the children and their families show reflects this.”