Access and waiting times in children and young people’s mental health services

New report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) examines new data on access to specialist treatment for children and young people with mental health problems, and the waiting times they face. 

This report shows that over a quarter of young people referred to specialist mental health services are not accepted for treatment. Little progress has been made in reducing the high proportion of young people who are not accepted into specialist services despite having been referred by a concerned GP or teacher. While in some areas good quality early intervention services are in place to help these young people, these are not consistently provided across the country.

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Image source: epi.org.uk

When referrals are accepted, young people in many areas are still waiting an unacceptably long time for treatment. The case for national waiting time standards to be put in place is therefore strong. Some progress is, however, being made in reducing waiting times to treatment, which may be due to the additional funding earmarked for children’s mental health services.

Full report: Access and waiting times in children and young people’s mental health services | Emily Frith | Education Policy Institute

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Mental health support for young people leaving care

Neglected Minds: A report on mental health support for younger people leaving care | Barnardo’s   

This report highlights that two thirds of care leavers identified as having mental health needs were not receiving any help from a statutory service. It also found that one in four had faced a mental health crisis since leaving care.

Barnardo’s wants clinical commissioning groups to invest more in services specifically aimed at meeting the needs of young people leaving care, such as embedding a mental health worker within leaving care teams.   

The full report can be downloaded here

PHE launches Rise Above for Schools programme

New schools programme to equip young people with coping strategies for modern life | PHE

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Image source: VFS Digital Design – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Dynamic new resources for teachers will help build crucial life-skills for young people to boost their resilience and improve their mental health and wellbeing, as part of a new evidence-based programme for schools unveiled by Public Health England (PHE).

With around 1 in 5 young people experiencing cyberbullying and 1 in 3 reporting that their body was “too fat”, pupils aged between 11 and 16 will be taught how to cope with some of modern life’s most challenging issues, equipping young people with resilience skills that will help them throughout adulthood.

PHE has developed a series of new resources for secondary school teachers to use in their lesson plans as part of the Rise Above for Schools programme. The resources will help teachers to engage pupils with coping strategies about ‘traditional’ health issues, like smoking and alcohol, while also addressing some of the most challenging pressures young people face today in an ‘always on’ social media generation.

Read the full press release here

Brief, intensive and concentrated CBT for anxiety disorders in children

This review aims to evaluate brief, intensive and concentrated (BIC) cognitive behavioural therapy, adapted from “standard” CBT treatments for anxiety disorders in young people | Simon Brett for the Mental Elf

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Image source: Samantha Cimino – Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Anxiety disorders affect 10% of children and 20% of adolescents at any one time. These disorders frequently persist into adulthood and are often associated with significant difficulties across the life span (e.g., major depression, substance abuse) (Woodward & Fergusson, 2001).

However, despite the existence of evidence-based interventions, the majority of young people do not access treatment. Young people face substantial barriers to seeking and receiving treatment; stigma, infrequent contact with health services, waiting times, lack of knowledge about mental health and few sufficiently trained mental health professionals.

Given the sound underlying therapeutic principles and evidence-base of CBT, it appears to be an ideal therapy to adapt and develop brief, intensive and concentrated (BIC) approaches designed to reach more young people, be more efficient and more cost-effective.

 

 

Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Profiling Tool

This tool has been developed to support an intelligence driven approach to understanding and meeting need| PHE

It provides commissioners, service providers, clinicians, services users and their families with the means to benchmark their area against similar populations and gain intelligence about what works.  It collates and analyses a wide range of publically available data on: prevalence, protective factors, primary prevention (adversity and vulnerability) and finance. It provides commissioners, service providers, clinicians, services users and their families with the means to benchmark their area against similar populations and gain intelligence about what works.

Tool structure – indicators are presented in 5 domains:

  • Identification of need
  • Protective factors
  • Primary prevention: Adversity
  • Primary prevention: Vulnerability
  • Finance

Within this domains, indicators are grouped by geography (predominantly county and local authority but also Clinical Commissioning Group) and then ordered by topic (e.g.adversity associated with poverty, abuse and neglect, family difficulties and parental difficulties).

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Young people’s views on gender, emotional well-being and mental health

This report presents young people’s views on how they cope with difficulties and seek help, with a focus on the role of gender | National Children’s Bureau

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Image source: NCB

Our surveys and face-to-face engagement with more than 100 young people generated some key findings:

  •  Some healthy ways of managing stress are widely acceptable to both male and female young people we surveyed: for example, having fun and exercising.
  •  Young people are very aware of expectations on boys and men to appear strong and not show emotion.
  •  Sharing problems with others seems more widely acceptable among the young women than young men, although not as clearly as common stereotypes might suggest.
  • Some girls and young women described feeling that their difficulties are belittled by adults when they try to seek support. They perceived assumptions that girls’ distress is due to overemotional reactions to minor issues with friendships and relationships. Some girls and young women expressed uncertainty about trusting female friends, although other females were an important source of support.
  • The few trans young people we heard from did feel that gender stereotypes affected how they cope and sought help, to different degrees and in different ways. Two commented on the need for greater professional understanding of gender identity.
  • The areas in which the young people most wanted to see greater gender-sensitivity were information about support available; support within settings like schools, youth clubs and youth offending institutions; and how professionals relate to young people

Read the full report here

Does Access to Green Space Impact the Mental Well-being of Children

An increasing body of research is showing associations between green space and overall health. Children are spending more time indoors while pediatric mental and behavioral health problems are increasing | Journal of Pediatric Nursing

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A systematic review of the literature was done to examine the association between access to green space and the mental well-being of children.

Twelve articles relating to green space and the mental well-being of children were reviewed. Three articles outside the date criteria were included as they are cited often in the literature as important early research on this topic.

Access to green space was associated with improved mental well-being, overall health and cognitive development of children. It promotes attention restoration, memory, competence, supportive social groups, self-discipline, moderates stress, improves behaviors and symptoms of ADHD and was even associated with higher standardized test scores.

Full reference: McCormick, R. (2017) Does Access to Green Space Impact the Mental Well-being of Children: A Systematic Review. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: 4 September 2017