The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health report recently published by the independent Mental Health Taskforce sets out the strategic direction for the transformation of NHS mental health services in England.
The report states that 1 in 10 children aged 5 to 16 has a diagnosable mental health problem such as conduct disorder, anxiety disorder or depression. However, most children and young people receive no support. For those who are referred to psychological therapy, the average waiting time is 32 weeks. The report makes welcome and wide-ranging recommendations to address inequalities and improve the delivery of services to children and young people, building on the recommendations of Future in Mind.
What follows are highlights of the priority actions described in the report for children and young people’s mental health. For more detailed reading, we recommend the Children & Young People’s Mental Health Coalition’s two page briefing and the Mental Health Network’s ten page briefing.
Priority actions for change by 2020
- Fundamental change in the commissioning and delivery of children and young people’s mental health services, ensuring that at least 70,000 more children and young people can access high quality care.
- The extension and integration of Local Transformation Plans (LTPs), developed in 2015/16 to deliver the vision of Future in Mind, into Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) which cover all health and care in local areas.
- The introduction of clearer care pathways with accompanying quality standards for the full range of mental health conditions, supported by workforce skills development to ensure delivery of care in line with NICE recommendations.
- The development of comprehensive workforce development programmes with validated courses on mental health promotion and prevention made available.
- Completion of the national roll out the CYP IAPT programme which the report cites as a good example of quality, evidence-based treatments delivered with commitment to transparency and improved data on outcomes.
- Regular prevalence surveys to be commissioned by the Department of Health at least every 7 years, and development of national metrics to support improvements in children and young people’s mental health outcomes.
- A revised payment system to be put in place as soon as possible for children and young people’s services.
- Trialling population-based budgets to give CCGs and local partners the opportunity to collaboratively commission specialised CAMHS services.
- Integrated regulation of services for children and young people across health, education and social care systems.
The report emphasises the importance of prevention and early identification of mental health problems at key points in life, particularly for children and young people. Specifically, it recommends that an expert group be convened to look at the needs of children who are particularly vulnerable to developing mental health problems and how these needs could be met, including through the provision of personalised budgets.
What are your thoughts on the priorities for children and young people’s mental health? How do you feel about the target for increasing CYP access to services? How can transparency of funding allocation be improved? Tweet us @iaptustweets or get in touch using our contact form. We’d love to hear your thoughts.