Children and young people in Solihull are set to benefit from improved emotional wellbeing and mental health services.
Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Solihull Council have jointly commissioned a new specialist service for children and young people up to their 18th birthday.
They have awarded the contract to Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) following a public consultation on the design of the new service and a procurement process last year. The contract for the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service for Children and Young People will commence on 1st April 2015.
The new service is aimed at providing more targeted emotional wellbeing and mental health support to young people and enabling a smooth transition for those who may need adult services in the future.
Solihull’s current Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service has 17th birthday as the upper age limit for referral. However, adult services are not available until young people reach 18.
For the new service, the upper age limit has been extended so that children and young people can be referred up until their 18th birthday. Those already receiving services prior to turning 18 will be able to continue doing so until the age of 21, if this best suits their needs.
Another key change is that the new service will be available out of working hours, when young people may find they need support.
Solihull CCG Chair and Clinical Lead Dr Anand Chitnis, said: “As the existing contract with Heart of England Foundation Trust finishes in April 2015, we had an opportunity to commission a new service that will ultimately be better for young people.
“Whilst the new service will provide the traditional medical services and treatments, an innovative new partnership with Barnardo’s will also develop a community based service that works closely with young people, their families and schools to understand their emotional distress much earlier, hopefully preventing it escalating into an illness that requires medical treatment.
“Patients and their families have told us that the current service is good but young people don’t always get the consistent support they need as they become adults. This is why we have extended the upper age limit by a year.”
Cllr. Ken Meeson, Solihull Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, added: “The new service combines the Early Help concept to identify and respond to need, with improved transition arrangements for those who need ongoing support into adulthood.
“Children and young people with a serious, enduring mental illness need intensive and specialist support services. However, these services can only work if the young people attend assessment and therapy sessions.
“They are more likely to attend if the sessions meet their needs and are offered at a time that is convenient to them – out of school hours, for example. We are therefore commissioning a wider range of therapies to give greater choice and flexibility, in a specialist service, which will be available out of working hours.”
John Short, Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract in partnership with Barnardo’s, to add to the services we already provide to adults in the borough. Improving mental health care for children and young people has been highlighted as a priority nationally and we are committed to improving the experience of people aged 18 and under through this new service, particularly focusing on earlier intervention, promoting recovery and providing a seamless transition to adult services.”
Hugh Sherriffe, Barnardo’s Director Midlands & South West, said: “Our role will be to ensure earlier intervention and support is easily available to children, young people and their families in order to reduce the escalation of mental health issues. We all want to provide care which treats them with compassion, dignity and respect, aiding their recovery and preventing problems from recurring.”
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