Children and young people
The pressures and challenges involved in supporting children and young people with mental health problems are well documented. As is the concern amongst families of those with unmet needs. The national number of referrals to specialist children’s mental health services has increased by 26% over the last five years according to research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI).
Concern around the length of time taken to help children and young people with mental health issues continues to rise. Addressing this will remain a Wakefield health and care priority for now and the foreseeable future. As a system, over 160 stakeholders contributed to a series of mental health summits in Wakefield last year to identify specific local priorities for children and young people’s mental health.
Working together across Wakefield District
Local health, social care and voluntary and community partners, including Wakefield Council, The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust and South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust, are looking at how we work together across the Wakefield District to put in place new ways of working to improve children and young people’s mental health – so that services are equal and sustainable across the district.
Wakefield District has collectively responded to the National Government’s call to improve approaches and services for children and young people’s mental health and well-being by developing the Future In Mind Wakefield Transformation Plan. This plan has been well received by National government, and work is under way to make the plan a reality. The Plan is also submitted by NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to NHS England annually
Working in partnership with other organisations, including the police and community organisations is central to our Wakefield approach. You can see evidence of this through the introduction of mental health care navigators who support families and enable other health professionals to focus on specialist decision-making and the safer spaces work for children and young people in mental health crisis. This way of working provides alternatives to bed days whilst reducing unnecessary A&E attendance.
Children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing
The wellbeing of children and young people who are looked-after by Wakefield Council, either in foster care or children's homes is important to us all. The prevalence of mental illness is significantly higher in looked-after children than equivalent populations.
The CCG has a key role to play in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of unborn babies, children, young people and vulnerable adults. We also have responsibility for ensuring the provider organisations from whom we commission services provide safe systems for safeguarding children and adults, which includes the provison for Looked After Children.
In October 2019, as a result of feedback from young people, the CCG held the 'Let's talk about difficult emotions' workshop. This provided young people with an opportunity to meet and engage with professions from a range of emotional and mental wellbeing services.