The Board received a report that described the work that was taking place in Halton to improve children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing, which was being lead through the Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing Board.
It was reported that poor mental health was one of the biggest social issues in England today, representing up to 23% of the total burden of ill health and was the largest single cause of disability. Locally, improving mental health and wellbeing had been identified as a priority for ‘One Halton’ and the Health and Wellbeing Board.
It was noted that one in four people would experience a mental health problem at some point in their life and around half of people with lifetime mental health problems experienced their first symptoms by the age of 14. The promotion of good mental health and early intervention could help to prevent mental illness from developing and mitigate its effects when it did.
The report went on to discuss a number of risk factors that increased the vulnerability of children and adolescents with mental health problems and specifically those in Halton. The Governments aspirations by 2020 were also presented.
Members were advised that Halton CCG was the lead accountable body for the commissioning of Young People’s mental health and it worked in partnership with the Local Authority’s Children’s Services and Public Health. The aims of the service in Halton were outlined in the report with the achievements to date.
Members made the following observations following the presentation of the report:
Is there a waiting list for CAMHS (Children and Adult Mental Health Service)?
As there is a single point of access to the service, there is a backlog at the front end. Five Boroughs Partnership (5bps) would be meeting on 8 February 2017 to discuss ceasing the current CART arrangements and introducing a single tier service that will be Halton specific.
What are schools doing to promote resilience and support?
Some schools were more actively engaged than others and some need to upskill in certain areas. Each school was provided with a ‘contact practitioner’ who was available to advise schools on the services available through CAMHS. Additionally, the nurture programme was being promoted in schools and this was being used to encourage resilience in children.
Were schools sharing best practice in the area of CAMHS?
Yes they were.
The resources and finances were available but schools need the right approach to CAMHS, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT – can a universal offer be enforced in schools?
The attachment element was being focussed on as it was important to identify this at the beginning. The midwifery service was being worked with and the health visitor offer was available up to 28 weeks after birth, to establish if any help was needed. If it was, then the client would be referred to other services.
What was being done to help young people through life to ensure there were no mental health problems?
We try not to over medicalise situations as many young people have common issues that were resolved mostly by talking and sharing problems and getting advice, without any need for intervention. Online services were available in the first instance as a self-help tool, such as forums etc. These online tools were monitored and any information submitted by an individual that was deemed to require further intervention, would be flagged up.
How was a CAMHS primary school child transferred to a secondary school when they move up?
CAMHS follows the child up to the age of 18 so it would be an automatic transition as the Council would know which school the child had been admitted to.
The Chair commented that as most Elected Members were governors of schools, that they could be encouraged to raise awareness of CAMHS in their schools and the services available to them.
One Member commented that blockages occurred at the top end of the service where a client needed a psychological referral but was put on a waiting list; thus affecting the capacity at the entry point of the service.
The Board was also advised that a workforce plan was being developed mid Mersey wide, to address a largely aging workforce within the service.
The Chair requested an update on this topic at a future meeting of the Board with discussions around pilots included and stated that information on goals settings and outcomes would be useful.
RESOLVED: That the Board notes the contents of the report.