‘Groundswell of energy’ is transforming young people’s mental health services, Chief Nurses are told at conference

Article amended, 3 December 2015, to correct an error in paragraph 18.

A ‘groundswell of commitment and energy’ will help transform children and young people’s mental health services (CYPMH), a top NHS official will tell England’s Chief Nurses.

Karen Turner, NHS England’s Director of Mental Health, will outline some of the changes expected to CYPMH in the next year as part of a keynote speech at the Chief Nursing Officer’s Summit in Birmingham (Weds 2 December).

She will also launch a new ‘Parents Say’ toolkit, made jointly with charity YoungMinds and in consultation with 900 parents, to help professionals include parents and carers in every aspect of the delivery of an intervention – from what happens in the room to how the service is designed.

It includes a set of five short films, a series of online modules, downloadable guides for commissioners and 14 case studies.

Miss Turner will say: “We are seeing an enormous groundswell of commitment and energy towards transforming mental health services for children and young people. A lot has changed – and across the country this change has been achieved through the involvement of children, young people and their families.

“There is a lot more work to be done but this is a very exciting time for the sector and I am proud to be a part of it.

“The Future in Mind report highlighted a number of key areas where improvement was needed in care for children and young people. We are constantly striving to ensure that parents, children and young people are fully involved and improve awareness and participation across the system. We know this works: services designed with people are more likely to be used by them. The new ‘Parents Say’ toolkit is a prime example of this work.

“Additional funding, close partnership working and excellent joined up  local planning mean we now have the momentum to deliver the real change we need.”

Families in the films ask to be for example: better informed, to be able to give views, to get simpler explanations of the care their child will receive.

The films then describe how professionals can help to make those changes happen, for example show how a parent might be involved in an interview process.

The toolkit and films are based on five key themes as identified by the parents:

  • Workforce Development
  • Leadership and Service Development
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Communication
  • Methods of engagement

CEO of YoungMinds Sarah Brennan said: “YoungMinds are delighted to be launching this innovative Parent Toolkit, which has been informed by the experiences of many parents across the country.

“Time and again, parents and carers have told us that they want greater opportunities for involvement when their child is using mental health services. Parents are experts by experience in supporting young people, yet our research showed us that the majority of parents and carers feel excluded and isolated from the treatment process, and often feel to blame for their children’s mental health problems.

“Our research with parents for the Toolkit demonstrates how effective communication between services and parents improves outcomes for both young people and their families, builds resilience and promotes more efficient services through improved attendance rates.

“The Toolkit offers a wealth of practical resources and suggestions for services and parents alike and we are really proud to have been a key part of its creation.”

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) working with partner agencies have submitted their Local Transformation Plans (LTPs) which show how local areas will deliver improved access and quality as the first phase of a five year programme of change. The plans are currently being assured and will be published by the end of December.

“We’re really impressed with how local areas have seized this opportunity. The LTPs contain fantastic ideas for how, at grassroots level, changes to services can genuinely improve the experience of young service users and their families’ experiences and lives,” Miss Turner added.

The government has pledged to invest £1.4 billion in children and young people’s mental health services over the next five years – including £30m to improve delivery of care for children and young people with an eating disorder – which will finance the plans.

Minister for Mental Health, Alistair Burt said: “Any parent or carer wants to help their children and evidence shows that having them involved in mental health care can actually lead to better results for young people. That is why this initiative is so important.

“Children and young people’s mental health is one of my personal priorities and this initiative is part of the biggest transformation to young people’s mental health and one of the greatest investments the sector has seen.”