As a society, we are more open to talking about mental health than ever before – but the pressures children face are changing and we have to adapt to help them. We want to start earlier and give them the skills to be resilient so they can thrive.
We know that children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing was greatly impacted by the pandemic, and that the effects will continue to be felt for some time.
Demand for children and young people’s mental health services has grown by as much as 30% this year, with many children and young people presenting with greater acuity and complexity than before. We have also seen referrals to our children and young people’s eating disorders service almost double compared to pre-pandemic levels. Both issues reflect the national picture that clearly indicates the pandemic’s impact on our children and young people’s mental health.
We are reviewing the needs of our communities and our existing transformation plans to meet the demand. We are working with our mental health service partners to focus on prevention and early intervention and to develop the capacity we need to support children and young people, including support for those who are waiting for treatment.
How we’re making a difference
What are we doing?
Our priorities are:
Developing a new mental health strategy
We published a new mental health strategy for people who live, work or study in South West London in July 2023. We developed this three year strategy with our partners and stakeholders to make sure that our plans reflect the needs of people who use our services and their families, carers and friends.
We are building on the interventions and projects we launched in 2021 aimed at preventing suicides in children and young people. This has included offering all our secondary schools and further education colleges the opportunity to access specialist suicide awareness and prevention training through a nationally recognised organisation dedicated to preventing suicides in children and young people.
More support in schools
We are expanding our mental health support teams in schools in South West London, giving children more and easier access to mental health and wellbeing support where and when it is needed and convenient for them.
Find mental health and emotional wellbeing information, advice, support and services for children and young people in South West London, and for parents, carers, teachers and people who work with young people.Children and young people’s mental health service directory
Improving crisis care
Working closely with the South London Partnership, continuing to expand and improve mental health crisis care provision for people of all ages. This includes improving the operation of all age 24/7 crisis lines and investing in services that support children and young people who attend A&E for mental health support, and evidence-based community therapies, such as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).
Implementing the Thrive model
We are implementing the Thrive model of children’s mental health services across all of our boroughs in South West London. The Thrive modelthinks about the mental health and wellbeing needs of children, young people and families through five different needs based groupings: Getting Advice and Signposting, Getting Help, Getting More Help, and Getting Risk Support.
Making the most of the ARRS scheme
We are using the mental health practitioner Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) roles to improve the care and treatment for adults, children and young people in line with NHS Long Term Plan ambitions.
Supporting South London Listens
We are supporting the South London Listens community listening campaign launched by the three south London mental health trusts in 2019. In June 2021, the trusts launched a two-year plan based on what the community asked us to do. The plan sets out how we will deliver across four priority areas:
- Loneliness, social isolation and digital exclusion
- Work and wages
- Children, young people and parental mental health
- Access to services
Read more about South London Listens
All South West London ICS partners are working together to achieve this goal.
If you would like to get involved in our work to transform children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing email us at [email protected]
Find out more about how you can get involved in our work on the Get Involved pages.