Eight pilots to lead innovation in children’s mental health

Eight pilot schemes set to lead the way in innovating change to services for children and young people with mental health issues have scooped a share of a £500k fund.

Pilots in NEW Devon, Derbyshire, Newcastle, Tameside and Glossop, Norfolk, Southampton, Wolverhampton and South Sefton have all been awarded up to £75k to develop their plans.

The cash will be spent creating time for staff to reassess the systems in place to commission Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) from schools up to inpatient beds and try to affect change through new ideas.

Examples include: improving services for children who might not need inpatient CAMHS care but have serious problems with self-harm or drug abuse; helping schools to manage early signs of mental health problems in pupils; training pupils and families to be involved in the commissioning process.

Dr Martin McShane, NHS England’s director for people with long term conditions, said: “Vulnerable children and young people need services they can rely on in a crisis.

“However, we know that by intervening effectively for young people when they begin to show signs of mental health problems we can significantly lower the chances of them needing specialist inpatient care.

“We want to accelerate breaking down barriers in the system and give commissioners, across a range of organisations, the time and space to take a step back and consider new and more effective ways of working.”

Ninety four bids, from 149 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), were received outlining the basis of their plans. The successful schemes were chosen by a panel of representatives from the Department of Health, the Department of Education and NHS England.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said: “I am absolutely determined to make sure any child with a mental health problem gets the best possible care, which is why I convened a Taskforce to look at how we can improve services. I congratulate these regions for their innovative work, which will help us transform care for young people across the country.

“I’m also really grateful to the 94 areas that submitted proposals – this shows a remarkable appetite for change. There is a growing consensus that we can improve the way we commission and organise children and young people’s mental health services.”

Many of the applications were jointly between CCGs and their partner agencies in local authorities and education, demonstrating their commitment to work together to improve high quality and better coordinated care and support.

Funding for the pilots has come from the £40m announced in October by NHS England CEO Simon Stevens and Deputy PM Nick Clegg.

They will now have until April to get their new approaches up and running and will then share learning across the CAMHS sector.

Alan Ford, spokesperson for the NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG pilot scheme, said: “This money will enable us to look at the whole system which is currently in place and assess how it can be improved for the benefit of children and young people in Tameside and Glossop. It is imperative that frontline staff are able to identify mental health issues early so that children and young people can be supported and treated quickly avoiding were possible the deterioration of conditions.”

Dr Jacqueline Cornish, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Transition to Adulthood, said: “It is exciting to see how some areas are making good progress in developing innovative solutions to address commissioning and transition challenges – we want to harness and accelerate this learning and give additional support to make a real difference to the way services are delivered. “

The pilot schemes will cover the whole care pathway for CAMHS care, from universal services provided in locations like schools through to inpatient services.


  1. Helen Fessey says:

    Absolutely great news that investment will address mental health issues and are being discussed re young people & the expertise to include in the process of transition to adulthood. I am a great believer in early intervention & that mental health & wellbeing should be within the curriculum from primary school level upwards. Speaking personally it can be a mine field & lottery for good services, & the systems should not to be reactive but proactive & money invested to promote good practice & build on them. I’ve a lifetime of experience as a mother & grandmother (kinship carer)

  2. lorraine ibison says:

    Have links with domestic violence and homeless hostel or bed and breakfast accomodation been considered in terms of exacerbation, or in extreme cases a trigger?
    STability and continuity of care delivery may will require a collabirative approach with agencys other than health and education.
    i do not believe there is any single answer or approach but the possibility of identifying effective care is positive

  3. NHS GATHER says:

    We’d be happy to share the outcomes of these pilots as NHS GATHER Innovation Guides.