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Transforming child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)

Future in Mind: Promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is the Government’s vision for transforming child and adolescent mental health services. 

At least one in four of the population experience mental health problems at some point in their lives, and over half of mental health problems in adult life (excluding dementia) start by the age of 14 and seventy-five per cent by age 18. 

Although mental health issues are relatively common, it is often the case that children and young people don’t get the help they need as quickly as they should. As a result, mental health difficulties such as anxiety, low mood, depression, conduct disorders and eating disorders can stop some young people achieving what they want in life and making a full contribution to society. 

Future in Mind recommends a whole child and family approach, promoting good mental health from conception and throughout life. It identified that better use of the voluntary and digital services was needed; with a simpler system, breaking down the barriers which existing “tiers” of service created; and the need to embrace innovative practices in this country and abroad. 

Future in Mind (FIM) was developed by the national Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Task Force and published in 2015. FIM has five underpinning themes, which are: 

Promoting resilience, prevention and early intervention

  • Improve public awareness and decrease stigma
  • Improve access to evidence-based parenting programmes for parents 

Improving access to effective support – a system without tiers

  • Ensure access to good crisis, out of hours and liaison psychiatric services
  • Ensure ease of accessibility of services
  • Increase use of evidence-based treatments
  • Make mental health support more visible 

Care for the most vulnerable

  • Attend to the needs of greater percentage of those in need of services (currently only 25 to 35 per cent)
  • Ensure that services are accessed by ‘hard to reach groups’ and vulnerable groups 

Accountability and transparency

  • Ensure good local data and information
  • Improve multi agency commissioning arrangements 

Developing the workforce

  • Ensure professionals who work with children are trained in child development and mental health and understand what can be done to provide help and support for those who need it. 

You can read the full report from the Task Force here.