A bold new plan to improve children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing across North West London has secured £3.8million funding from the Department of Health and NHS England.
Currently, children and young people referred for a mental health service in North West London receive differing levels of service depending upon where they live. Yet around half of all mental health needs in adults emerge by the age of 14, and three-quarters of lifetime mental health disorder have their first onset before the age of 18, meaning it is a crucial age for ensuring the right care.
Taking the first step towards mental health support can be daunting for young people but the earlier people receive support, the better the outcome is likely to be. The new plan will ensure young people across North West London receive a joined up and consistent mental health service irrespective of which borough they live in.
The £3.8million has been awarded to North West London’s clinical commissioning groups to deliver their children and young people’s mental health plan, which aims to improve the quality of mental health services provided to young people and prevent them from falling through gaps in the system by providing a joined approach to meeting health and social care needs. The plan also recognises the specific individual needs of the eight boroughs in North West London, and will be tailored to meet each area’s local needs.
Dr Sarah Basham, NHS Brent CCG Assistant Chair and GP clinical lead for the Like Minded Children and Young People’s work stream said: "We are delighted that we are now going to be able to make significant improvements to the mental health services that children and young people receive.
“The challenges young people face are hugely varied – from stress and anxiety about exams to serious and debilitating long-term conditions. In North West London, it is estimated that 25,000 children aged 5 to 16 each year will face the challenge of a mental health problem.
“It is crucial that we make it easier for every child or young person to get help where and when it is needed. We need to improve access to care and support, particularly for our most vulnerable children - whether that is in the local community, at school, in a GP practice, or from a specialist service.
“It is also important that we break down barriers in our current system and work across health, social care and the voluntary sector to promote good mental health from the earliest age.
“Our plans will mean that by the end of 2020 the children and young people of North West London will experience a fully transformed service that better suits their needs, with better access to the right services at the right time and in the right place.”
The funding will enable the eight CCGs in North West London to radically transform mental health service and promote greater resilience, early intervention and prevention for children, young people, parents and carers.
There will be a focus on improving services in a number of key areas, including:
This is one element of a wider effort to improve mental health and wellbeing for everyone across North West London. The Case for Change for the full population – including a summary of the CCGs’ plans for young people – can be found here.