Children and young people mental health review: Update on local actions

Published: 16 October 2020 Page last updated: 21 October 2020

In 2018 we published our review of the system of services that support children and young people’s mental health. In that review, we found that many children and young people experiencing mental health problems don’t get the kind of care they deserve. We said that the system is complicated, with no easy or clear way to get help or support.

We made a number of recommendations for national, regional and local action to improve mental health care for children and young people.

We have followed up what action has been taken at a local level in response to our recommendations.

What we did

We developed a self-assessment questionnaire for health and wellbeing boards based on the recommendations of the 2018 report. This was sent to 152 health and wellbeing board areas that support children and young people with mental health problems. Sixty-seven boards responded from September to December 2019.

The self-assessment questionnaire looked at:

  • joint commissioning
  • referral pathways and eligibility criteria
  • care coordination
  • listening to people who use services
  • working together day-to-day
  • keeping children and young people, their parents, families and carers informed and involving them in their care
  • harnessing technology
  • embedding mental wellbeing in school life and valuing the importance of education
  • supporting and valuing staff.

What we found

The recommendations from our 2018 report were being implemented to varying degrees. For example, while our findings indicated there was stronger prevalence of joint commissioning, almost one in five local health and wellbeing boards reported back that there was no joint commissioning of support for teenagers and young people as they moved to adult services.

Continued improvements were needed to make sure our local recommendations were being acted on.