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Improving Mental Health Services for Young Adults

Monday 19 November 2018
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Improving Mental Health Services for Young Adults
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‘Transitioning from children’s to adults’ mental health services is a key turning point in a young person’s care. It is also often a key turning point in a young person’s life more generally, as they may be finishing school or college, leaving care, or starting to live more independently… In our fieldwork, we found that confusion about the point at which transition should take place posed a barrier to high-quality care… Another common barrier to high-quality care was poor transition planning. We found examples where young people fell through the gaps because there was no effective process to make sure they moved from children’s to adults’ mental health services’ CQC Review into Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services March 2018

‘It is estimated that more than 25,000 young people transition from child and adolescent to adult mental health services each year, and research has identified that few of those receive an ‘ideal’ transition…Research suggests that, between 16 and 18 years old, young people are going through significant change and are potentially at their most vulnerable psychologically. Despite this, this is currently the age that young people are either transitioned to adult mental health services, or discharged if they do not meet the criteria for adult mental health services.’ Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, July 2018

In July 2018 the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch published its second full investigation report to support a new learning culture around mistakes in the NHS. The investigation reviewed the transition of care from child and adolescent to adult mental health services to understand how variations in the transition impacts the safe and effective care of young people. This investigation followed the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch being notified of an 18-year-old who died by suicide shortly after transitioning from child and adolescent to adult mental health services. The investigation identified possible issues regarding the transition process. As a result of the investigation the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch identified the following key findings:

  • Young people using child and adolescent mental health services would benefit from a flexible, managed transition to adult mental health services which has been carefully planned with the young person, provides continuity of care and follow-up after transition. A duration of shared-care would help to ensure readiness and continuity for the young person.
  • Young people and their families may also benefit from the use of tools in their transition planning to allow for structured conversations and to empower them to ask questions and take ownership of their diagnosis, needs and treatment.
  • In the acute and mental health trusts visited, there were no standardised methods or tools used to manage transition. However, we did find that acute trusts were more likely to plan transition over a longer period of time and to use tools to bring some standardisation to the process.
  • There is evidence that moving to a flexible model which has the capacity to provide mental health services up to the age of 25, can minimise some of the barriers and reduce the risks associated with transition.
  • Research suggests that young people want flexible services which do not have strict 'cut-off' points. Flexible services are especially important for young people with emotional problems, complex needs, mild learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder, for whom there are limited available services in the adult mental health setting.
  • Significant efforts are being taken to improve early intervention services for young people. Research indicates that early intervention reduces the impact on both the young person and subsequently the NHS through improved outcomes and a reduction in the need for longer-term resources. 


This conference is focused on improving mental health services for young adults and smoothing the transition from child to adult mental health services in line with the recommendations from HSIB, the CQC review into child mental health and the recent government Green Paper. 

Plus: Attend the pre-conference supplier showcase session: Bob Stewart from CheckWare Ltd will look at patients participating in their treatment by self-reporting and distance care management

100% of delegates at our previous conference on this subject would recommend it to a colleague

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