Healthwatch calls for fresh approach to mental health support for children, young people & their families

During the summer of 2014, we listened to a group of young people and their families with experience of mental health services in Hillingdon.
This interim report, which we are delighted to publish in partnership with Hillingdon Mind, presents a selection of evidence about how young people, experiencing mental health problems, often don’t believe their voices are being heard.
It also highlights the desire by young people to be seen as ‘normal’ and not feel judged or stigmatized (which often puts them off accessing services), the importance of friends and families in providing support, and the central role the internet and social media play in the way they respond to problems. The report sets out areas for further investigation including looking at new models for delivering the full range of mental health services in Hillingdon as part of a ‘whole system’ approach to emotional resilience, and being able to talk openly about mental health problems and get help.

Call for evidence & best practice case studies – Children’s Mental Health Services, Hillingdon

Building on this first report, we want to further explore gaps in mental health service provision for young people, including looking at early intervention and prevention approaches. In particular, we want to help develop a better, integrated, journey through mental health services – at key transition points – including looking at the crucial role schools, youth services, the voluntary sector and GPs play in supporting young people and piloting new ways of dealing with needs.

We are especially keen to look at the effects on young people of caring for parents with mental health problems, and how they might be supported, as the council, CCG and other agencies prepare to identify young carers, and meet their needs, through measures in the Care Act and the Children and Families Act. We also want to examine how, working together, services can prevent and reduce mental health problems for children and young people with autism and other special educational needs.

In preparation for the next phase of our research and engagement programme we want to receive examples of prevention and early intervention best practice and new thinking. Please send these to by 28th February 2015.

We look forward to receiving your ideas and working with you on these vital tasks.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Hawkes
Chief Executive Officer