11.07.18

Nation’s youth suffering when transitioning from child to mental health services

Article by Callum Wood of the National Health Magazine

A significant number of children are suffering when transitioning from child to adult mental health services, recent studies suggest.

The report, published by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), found that less than 4% of these young people received an ‘ideal’ transition into adult mental health services.

The investigation began after the suicide of an 18-year-old after transitioning from child to adult mental health care.

Chief investigator, Keith Conradi, said: “Young people’s mental health has received considerable national interest in recent years, with particular attention paid to how young people are supported in transition to adult services.

“Experts have documented the elements of a safe and effective transition for many years however, many young people still do not have a positive experience and, as a result, disengage from services.”

It has been estimated, by the HSIB, that more than 25,000 young people transition from CAMHS each year.

In June NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens identified children's mental health as an area that will be addressed in the coming year

HSIB’s findings suggest that children with mental health problems would benefit from a more “flexible” managed transitions from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services.

The HSIB recommend a wider window concerning the age limited of transition should be implemented. This may extend gradually to the age of 25.

The HSIB note service transitions are especially important for children with emotional problems such as autism and ADHD. Representatives from the HSIB visited various institutions for child mental health and found there to be no system or tools to manage transitions.

Acute trusts were more likely to manage these transitions over longer periods of time and provide the management to organise such a transition.

Conradi continued: “Experts have documented the elements of a safe and effective transition for many years however, many young people still do not have a positive experience and, as a result, disengage from services.

“The report is the culmination of many months of rigorous and independent investigation, working closely with those involved in the care of this young person, who sadly died by suicide, as well as relevant organisations and subject matter experts.”

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) offers an independent service to advice and support NHS organisations on investigations and conducting safety investigations.

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