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Improving Mental Health Services for Young Adults

News and presentations from today's conference chaired by Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of Young Minds.

James Downs a young adult with lived experience of accessing mental health services opened the conference. He emphasised the need to look at people as people regardless of age. James emphasised the pressures on young people particularly for academic achievement. He said that services (not just mental health but schools and higher education) need to be more preventative and proactive and recognise the experience of the young person as real. 
Download James' powerful presentation here.

The conference continued with a National update form Dr Jacqueline Cornish OBE National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Tranisition to Adulthood, NHS England.  Jacquelines presentation is available to download here

Jacqueline said that "the spotlight ison children and young peoples mental health" and discussed the transition philosophy “Paediatric and adult health care professionals need to provide developmentally appropriate health care for adolescents and young adults with long term physical and mental health conditions addressing medical, psychosocial and educational/vocational needs working together when necessary to support continuity of care as they move from child-centred to adult delivered services“

Jacqueline discussed why young adults need a different approach:

•Three great transitions: education to work, home to independent living, parented to becoming independent/a parent
•The brain is still changing - up to 25 yrs full development
•Mental Health in adolescents is deteriorating - and incidence rises from 1:10 in children to 1:6 in adults
•Learning Disability & SEN - uncertain transition services
•Patterns of service use and access develop early in life, so how young people experience services when they first use them will affect engagement as adults
•Avoid crisis presentation - family, school, college, work 
Jacqueline said that there should not be "a cliff face at 18 - bang - when you move from a child to an adult" - what we should be dealing with is people at an age appropriate level - services should move around them. 

What might this mean for how we provide mental health services for our young people ? 

•Services that work to a set of principles whether they are CAMHS, AMHS or youth services spanning transition
•Services that offer best evidence based, outcomes focused services, co developed with young people and families  demonstrated by measurement of
•One or two key related  health / wellbeing indicator
•Young person ‘friendly’ characteristics of the service
Services that can demonstrate  evidence that 
•  the young person has been given a treatment summary
•  an holistic needs assessment has been offered
•  an agreed care plan exists

Use of system levers  such as contracts , protocols, specifications, CQINs and exploring opportunities from new models of care 

Jacqueline emphasised the importance of the Future in Mind Report available here 

Jacqueline stated that "The transformation plans for children and young people are actually happening - the money is in place - including transition." In the local transformation plans we are seeing a move away from tiers. Jacqueline went on to describe the work of the CYP workstreams. Jacqueline concluded by quoting Frederick Douglass "It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men". 

The next presentation was delivered by Paul Scates, Peer Specialist, Campaigner and Ambassador who talked from a lived experience perspective on developing resilience. Presentation to follow here

Prof Swaran Singh, Professor of Social Work and Community Psychiatry at University of Warwick then presented an evidence based approach to the development and evaluation of youth mental heath services. Presentation to follow here. 

Dr Sarah Maxwell, Consultant CAMHS Psychiatrist with Dr Jon Wilson, Consultant Psychiatrist, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust presented their integrated age inclusive pathways making sure young people don't fall through the gaps. They discussed the pilot project which has remoed the age 18 transition completely and developed a service for all young people age 14-25 with severe and complex mental health problems. 

Presentation Here 

Afternoon sessions focused on access to psychological therapies, schools based counselling, and improving mental health support in universities and higher education (see 

The conference concluded with an extended focus on bridging the gap between child and adolescent mental health services and a final session from Barbara Rayment, Chair of the Children and Young Peoples Mental Health Coalition. Barbara's presentation is available here.


Also of interest:

Improving Physical Health for People with Mental Health Conditions
Tuesday 23 February 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London
Towards Zero Suicide: Preventing Suicide, Saving Lives
Tuesday 15 March 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London
Smoking Cessation in Mental Health
Friday 22 April 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London
Improving Services & Outcomes for People who Self Harm
Friday 13 May 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London
Improving Mental Health Services for Men
Thursday 19 May 2016 
Hallam Conference Centre, London


28 January 2016


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