Following new recommendations published by the Children & Young People’s Mental Health Task Force, Children’s Health Scotland (CHS) is calling for increased investment in children and young people’s mental health services.
Commenting on the publication of the recommendations, Professor Richard Olver, Chair of Children’s Health Scotland said: “Children’s Health Scotland welcomes the recommendations by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce to establish strategic partnerships and future investment across a range of sectors and organisations to support improvement in children and young people’s mental health. We are actively involved in initiatives to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people and would like to see increased investment within this area.
“It is particularly pleasing to note the role of third sector organisations which are highlighted within the recommendations and we look forward to continuing to work with others across the healthcare sector in Scotland in support of the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.”
CHS is committed to active prevention and early intervention within the community including a focus on mental health and wellbeing. For example, our Self-Management Programme encourages positive engagement with children and young people with long term health conditions in group settings to promote peer support, strengthen core life skills and deliver health promotion strategies. Self-Management is a process in which people with long term illnesses are empowered to take charge of their condition and its impact on their quality of life.
The Children’s Health Scotland Health & Wellbeing Services operating in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and in Tayside take a holistic approach to working collaboratively with children, young people and families and signposting to relevant services and tools to support their wellbeing. Crucially, our Harder to Reach Service emphasises education, information and early intervention with communities who are least likely to engage with health and social care services.
The Children & Young People’s Mental Health Task Force was formed in June 2018 in response to mounting concerns over waiting times and rejected referrals for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Key recommendations published by the Task Force are as follows:
Recommendation 1 – The Scottish Government and COSLA should commit to a formal, long term partnership to jointly drive the reform of Scotland’s approach to children and young people’s mental health. In doing so, they should use their powers of direction and influence to ensure public bodies and local partnerships demonstrate this commitment through the priority it receives.
Recommendation 2 – The Scottish Government and COSLA should demonstrate joint leadership through establishing a strategic partnership with partners across a range of sectors and organisations to enhance and accelerate improvement in children and young people’s mental health as a priority.
Recommendation 3 – The Scottish Government and COSLA should recognise the vital and increasing role the third sector performs in supporting and improving the mental health of children and young people and should ensure they are fully involved and represented in strategic partnerships at a local and national level.
Recommendation 4 – The Task Force endorses a whole system approach to addressing children’s mental health needs, ensuring preventative action to reduce need, and a prompt and proportionate response which improves outcomes for all children who need support or treatment.
Recommendation 5 – Scottish Government and COSLA should support future investments in children and young people’s mental health that prioritise early intervention and prevention approaches
Recommendation 6 – The Taskforce has begun to identify a set of building blocks integrating the recommendations of all its workstreams. These will embed prevention and best practice in all our work with children, young people and their families. Scottish Government and COSLA should ensure future approaches to children and young people’s mental health are based on these building blocks.
Recommendation 7– In order to reinforce the requirement to take action and responsibility as part of a whole system, the Scottish Government and COSLA should jointly commission a small number of pathfinders in different parts of Scotland.
Recommendation 8 – Scottish Government and COSLA should provide support to local partnerships to develop fit for purpose systems for sharing information digitally to better support children, young people and families in line with GIRFEC.
Recommendation 9 – Scottish Government and COSLA should endorse further exploration of the digital solutions children, young people and their families would find useful. This should include consideration of the needs of those accessing CAMHS and neurodevelopmental services, as well as those who are looking for tools to support their wellbeing.
Recommendation 10 – Building on existing work, the Scottish Government should commission a quality/performance improvement plan to improve consistency, in the short term, of CAMHS performance and CAMHS acceptance criteria. This will be of particular importance given the £4m investment in CAMHS to ensure there is a measurable improvement, in line with Taskforce recommendations, as a result of this investment.
Recommendation 11– Scottish Government and COSLA should commission means to ensure recommendations and actions required for their implementation are co-designed and co-produced in partnership with children and young people going forward.
Recommendation 12– Scottish Government and COSLA should support the implementation of a programme of education and training for the multi-sector workforce in support of the Taskforce’s ambitions for a whole system approach model.
Recommendation 13 – Scottish Government and COSLA should work with partners to ensure that the supply of well-trained staff is maintained and expanded. This should include working alongside the Third Sector on a recruitment drive for children and young people’s mental health services to attract bright, compassionate people of all ages and backgrounds to this work.
CLICK HERE to read the full report on Children & Young People’s Mental Health Task Force: Recommendations.