Future in Mind, was published in March 2015 by the government to establish priorities for Children and Young People’s Mental Health. In addition the government committed to spend an additional £1.25bn over five years on Children and Young People’s Mental Health. CCGs have had to submit transformation plans to NHS England, and North East Hampshire & Farnham CCG has led on the development of plans on behalf of the five Hampshire CCGs.
Priority areas for investment:
- commission earlier intervention services through evidenced based counselling / psychological support
- increased access to earlier intervention services through evidenced based parenting programmes
- improve access and support for young people who have been sexually abused and/or exploited
- develop Eating Disorder Service to ensure compliance with new standards
- reduce waiting times for young people waiting for an intervention from CAMHS
- improved access to technological solutions that support young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.
£2.36m has been allocated across the five Hampshire CCGs. A board paper for West Hampshire CCG gives a breakdown of how this is being split between the CCGs. Access the board paper here.
West Hampshire CCG’s application to be part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Schools Link Pilot Scheme has been successful. This pilot aims to raise awareness and knowledge of mental health issues with staff at schools, as well as improve the NHS’s understanding of specific mental health issues within local schools. Schools taking part in the pilot will receive two days of training by March 2016. It is hoped the training will also help support effective working between local schools and Hampshire’s CAMHS. The training will support schools to identify and intervene with mental health problems experienced by children and young people.
CAMHS will receive £50,000 to support the pilot and the learning will be shared across Hampshire. Although the details are being finalised, it is anticipated this pilot will launch with ten schools in the New Forest. The programme is jointly supported between NHS England and Department for Education.
Nationally over 80 CCGs applied to secure funding, with 15 CCGs being successful, including West Hampshire CCG.
The Children’s Commissioner for England says most children are looking to the internet for information about mental health issues. She has called for young people’s mental health websites to carry a ‘health warning’ with some sort of kite mark system to guarantee the quality of the information given, but she says more help and counselling should be provided in schools and youth clubs.
Young people want trustworthy information about mental health issues and also more accessible drop-in mental health support. Research found that young people are more likely to seek help about mental health issues from a friend (50%) than a parent (43%), mental health professional (40%) or doctor (40%). Only 18% would turn to their school nurse.
A new animated guide to mental health care care in England was launched ahead of World Mental Health Day by the Kings Fund; exploring the mental health services and how they work alongside other health and public services.
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The UK has a world-class public sector, education is good, and the NHS is outstanding. But one area that consistently seems to let young people down is those who get stuck in-between social care and Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
In our austerity climate there have been cuts to both children’s social and the CAMHS service. In addition both services are locally using more agency staff to cover the current gaps they have within their teams. This certainly provides a lack of consistency for young people and their families, but I believe that the problem is not solved by more money, and capacity staffing. Simply pouring additional resource into a dysfunctional system would not automatically produce the best results for our vulnerable children and young people. Instead it is time to consider a radical overhaul of how, when and by whom child protection and statutory mental health services are provided.
Too often when a child is suspected of having mental health concerns such as depression, suicide, ADHD, on the ASD spectrum then social care, often believe it is the responsibility of CAMHS to take the lead with the family. Yet CAMHS, often rightly, will point out that whilst the mental health concerns has a significant impact there are other major factors at play in the life of the young person. Instead of two agencies working together to support a young person and their family they spend their time blaming cuts on the lack of staff and resources and spend meetings with other professionals passing the buck as to why they can not help the young person.
All this does is lead to a situation where a young person who is on the border of a Tier 2 to 3 threshold is propelled to the top end of Tier 3 if not into Tier 4 as no agency takes responsibility to support and invest in the young person and their family.
I can think of several families that I’ve worked with for whom this tension between social care and CAMHS has actually worsened the situation, and certainly not helped the young person.
I sit in meetings where I want to stop and shout: “Enough is enough!” Surely we can find a way to do something between us to support this young person and their family.
As is often the case though in a large organisation the staff at the meetings don’t have the power to be able to change the situation – what we need is county managers and health commissioners working together for the benefit of young people and their families and enabling their staff to do the same.