To receive an overview of the whole system work being undertaken in relation to children and young people’s mental health in the Borough.
The Sub-Committee considered a presentation by Janet Arris, Deputy Director of Commissioning, North Tyneside Place, NHS North East and North Cumbria ICB, on the whole system work being undertaken in relation to children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing in the Borough.
North Tyneside has a well-established Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Partnership and together with the Barnado’s Strategic Alliance work collaboratively together to improve early intervention.
North Tyneside has a Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Emotional and Wellbeing Strategy which sets out the ambition to develop resilient children, young people and families, to ensure easy access for children, young people and families to get the right mental health support at an early stage from universal services and to improve access to specialist mental service for those children and young people who are at high risk of poor mental health.
There were a number of services offered within the Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Partnership including a Complex Trauma Pathway to ensure access for young people, Discover Me, Early Help Workers in Primary Care, Child Wellbeing Practitioners, Mental Health Support Teams for Schools, Additional funding for the Cygnet Programme and Voluntary Sector Alliance Workers.
Services offered within the Barnado’s Strategic Alliance included the School Survey, Family Partners in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Access Team, Friends Resilience, Mental Health First Aid in Schools, Resilience Film, Sleep Counselling, Cornerstone VR Headsets, Children’s Wellbeing Practitioners, Thrive approach in Secondary and Middle Schools and the Social Prescribing Model.
A Member asked how parents could refer to the services provided by the Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Partnership and it was noted that in relation to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Local Offer, information from VODA, the Council for Voluntary Service in North Tyneside could be found on social media. It was acknowledged that a further piece of work was needed on engaging with parents so a whole system was in place for the NHS and Local Authority and information on the criteria for each service and how to access the service could be provided and shared.
A Member asked how a parent could access mental health support for a child impacted by bullying and the Deputy Director of Commissioning stated that there was a whole school approach and it was the role of the Mental Health Support teams to work with schools to support the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and pastoral teams.
Reference was then made to mental health support for children with dyspraxia and dyslexia and it was noted that the Mental Health Support teams would work with children with these conditions in schools.
The Deputy Director of Commissioning explained that there were several challenges including ensuring meetings were held with colleagues who had a strategic oversight, the impact of Covid with an increase in referrals across the system, the increase in the cohort of children who were not attending school, the significant waiting lists for specific pathways and an increase in referrals where autism was the primary diagnosis.
A Member expressed concern that the waiting time for specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) was approximately six to eight weeks and asked if there were any measures in place to reduce the waiting time for young people. The Deputy Director of Commissioning agreed that the waiting list for specialist services which was monitored was too long and stated that there were significant challenges in the system around the workforce and being unable to fill staffing gaps.
Members were informed that that there was a crisis helpline available for children and young people to get urgent help for mental health and they would be assessed if presenting at the Accident and Emergency Department.
In reply to a question regarding the waiting time for children for therapy it was confirmed that the waiting time for specialist more complex presentations was six to eight weeks and more children were waiting for treatment due to the pandemic.
Cognitive behaviour therapy was also delivered by the mental health support teams in schools.
The Deputy Director of Commissioning concluded that the system priorities were to develop a system wide Triage Function giving the right people support at the right time whether that was self help advice to build resilience, easy access to early interventions or further support from specialist services and to undertake a whole system review of attitudes and approaches to neurodiversity.
The Chair thanked the Deputy Director of Commissioning for the presentation and for attendance at the meeting.
Members were notified of the death of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
It was agreed that the meeting be adjourned.