Young people struggling to access support for their mental health

75% of parents and young people told us they have concerns about their mental health and service provision. We heard that people had to "fight" for support and that services were "swamped, meaning no help was available."
Scoping a model for young people

100 parents and 22 young people in North Somerset told us about their experiences of accessing support for their mental health, the type of services/people that they would approach, and what setting to receive support they would prefer. 

The feedback we heard included:

  • Not enough counselling sessions
  • Had to fight for help.
  • Long waiting lists for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHs)
  • No clear pathway or signposting /not sure where to go and what is support is available
  • Plucked up courage to see GP – but services are swamped so couldn't access help.

The issues of long waits for mental health support for children and young people was raised in our quarterly feedback reports. Funding for Mental Health Support Teams from NHS England has been agreed, but the service will not be established in North Somerset until next year.

In June 2019, we produced our "Understanding access to mental health support through school" report. We explored the situation for children and young people seeking early intervention mental health help through their schools and colleges, and their access to other services outside school.

Our recommendations

Parents/carers and children/young people have an awareness of mental health issues and are prepared to seek help and support.

A holistic approach is preferred, with help and support being availble from a number of sources. Family and friends play a vital role, and wellbeing should be part of the school curriculum. This recognises that one size does not fit all, and that people need to find what works for them. An informal, local approach is preferred, over a more structure format which might mean more travelling for sessions.

Signposting needs to be clearer so that both students and parents know where to start and what services are out there. Professional capacity was citied a concern, as was the need for an embedded ethos around mental health support schools.

Off The Record will be providing a service that will help to fill some of the gaps in provision, as outlined in this report.

OTR will be working in partnership with service providers and community spaces across North Somerset to address areas keenly raised from public feedback introducing a range of initiatives for young people to provide 'more services', 'more professional capacity' and 'better signposting'. OTR will work to champion the voices of young people and their networks in North Somerset to further influence and develop the quality and future of service delivery in the area.
— Off The Record


Scoping A Model For Mental Health Support In Schools - June 2021

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