Over the last two years children, young people, professionals and partners have been working locally and across CCGs to grapple with the complex and challenging issues of mental health and wellbeing.
We have looked at local and county-wide needs, provision and good practice and have developed and designed a new whole-system for Kent which puts children, young people and young adults at the heart of services. We are delighted that the testimony we had gathered from Kent children and young people was considered in the drafting of the Department of Health and NHS England publication of ‘Future in Mind’.
As part of transforming mental health and wellbeing services for the future, Kent partners have developed the Kent Transformation Plan for Children, Young People and Young Adults’ Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health. The plan draws on the voice the child, parents, professional and families and articulates how we will move towards a future which is transformed with how we see and how we respond to mental health and wellbeing for our whole population.
Since publishing our first version in December 2015, we have been required by NHS England to produce an annual refresh. We refreshed our plan in October 2016 and again in October 2017. Our Transformation Plan sets out how we will meet the challenge and commits to systemic and cross-cutting solutions across organisational and geographic boundaries. The key areas of transformation within our plans are to:
- Increase the role of universal services to challenge stigma and deliver good emotional wellbeing at every opportunity. We will invest in schools, school nursing, health visitors, voluntary sector, families and children to build resilience and parenting skills. We will deliver evidence-based programmes across Kent designed to reduce self-harm and risk-taking behaviour in targeted groups of young people following a successful local pilot.
- Invest in early intervention to ensure that children and young people are able to access the right service at the right time. We will be investing new money into a Kent-wide resource of mental health practitioners within early help services to support children and young people who do not have a medical diagnosis.
- Deliver services and support from birth to 25, ensuring that support is no longer shaped by a cliff-face at age of 18 but responds to the individual needs of a young person as they follow their own unique path to adulthood. We will be working towards moving existing resource and contracting arrangements over the next five years to achieve true 0 – 25 services.
- Meet the needs of our vulnerable populations, ensuring evidence based and effective interventions for our looked after children, care leavers, disabled children, young offenders and those with complex needs. This year, we will invest in supporting our significantly expanded unaccompanied asylum-seeking children population.
- Improve access. Research is increasingly showing the long-term effects of emotional and mental health problems occurring during childhood and adolescence, and the cost-effectiveness of good access to appropriate support. We will develop streamlined access for children and young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health needs and their family/carer by introducing a single point of access.