New service to support children and young people with their emotional wellbeing and mental health

The views of children, teenagers, parents, carers and healthcare professionals have helped to shape a modern service for children and young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health problems.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) provides targeted and specialist mental health and wellbeing support to children and young people aged 0-18 years.

The contract to deliver CAMHS was due for renewal and in a unique move Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire joined forces to procure the new service to promote integrated working across the three areas as well as provide more seamless and better quality of care and support to children, young people and families.

The preferred bidder, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded the contract and shall start providing the service from 1 April 2018.

As the specification for the new service was drawn up, more than 200 individuals from across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (including children, young people, parents and carers, and multi-agency professionals) were consulted.

Their views have helped shape how children, young people and their families will have timely access to an integrated system of co-ordinated and effective promotion, prevention, early intervention and community support and treatment.

Kirstie Stage is a member of Youth Parliament for Wiltshire West and Wiltshire Assembly of Youth. She was one of the young people involved in advising commissioners on the new look service.

She said: “To play an active role in the consultation has reflected a positive message: professionals are asking for input and young people are being listened to seriously. Mental health is such a prevalent issue and by improving the CAMHS services, young people are able to access support and thrive.”

Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children’s services at Wiltshire Council said: “We are really grateful to the many people who gave us their valuable feedback to help shape how we provide this support to have a positive impact on young lives into the future. Our young people are growing up in a very different world to just a few years ago and it’s vital we have their views on how we can best support them.”

Ted Wilson, Director of Community Services and Joint Commissioning, Wiltshire CCG said: “With valuable input from young people across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset and Swindon we have commissioned a mental health service that will better suit their needs, be easier for them to access and will provide improved advice and support.”

Donan Kelly, Interim Service Director for Children and Young People at Oxford Health, said: “We are delighted to be awarded the contract for providing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

“This builds upon the good work of the existing services that we have provided across the region, and going forward, the consultation and new contract provide the opportunity to make a real difference in the way services are delivered: we want to provide a seamless accessible service that also helps bring together wider community support to improve the overall emotional wellbeing and mental health of children, young people and their families.”