Mental Health – Support Needs of Parents/Carers of Children and Young People Dealing With Mental Health Issues

Lead: Citywide

Period: 4th Oct 2018 - 11th Nov 2018

An engagement to understand what support parents and carers need if a child or young person they care for requires mental health support

Brief summary of the project

Over the last 2 years, the NHS has been developing the mental health website MindMate, with involvement from children and young people in the city.  However, we recognise that support for parents and carers could be improved. Often situations escalate and these could have been prevented had parents and carers had the skills and knowledge to support their children.

The aim of the engagement was to get a better understanding of the information and support needs of parents and carers supporting children and young people with mental health issues; find out what parents and carers in general would like should they have concerns about the mental health of their child/young person.

Findings from the survey will be used to help us develop solutions in response to identified needs.

Who did we speak to?

We spoke to 277 parents and carers. 154 respondents had previously accessed support in relation to the mental health of a child or young person in their care.

How did we ask?

We used a survey to engage with parent and carers. The survey was shared widely including: parents’ groups and networks in Leeds. The engagement was also promoted on both Facebook and Twitter and on a number of the CCG’s and VAL’s newsletters and bulletins.

What did we ask?

We asked the parents and carers what services they accessed on behalf of their children and what they thought of those services.  We also asked what they would like from future support in order to understand their needs and preferences.

What did people tell us?

Parents and carers had mixed views on some elements of existing services, with quality of support and staff knowledge most commonly identified as positive aspects of current support.  We also asked what kind of support parents/carers would like to access if they were worried about the mental health of a child or young person in their care.  The most commonly cited sources of support parents/carers wanted to access were support from a health professional and support through school.  Some of the key areas most parents and carers identified as needing improvement were: waiting times; communication between services; better understanding of additional needs and learning disabilities; lack of clarity around available services and support.

What did we do?

Theme Identified (you said)   We did
Parents and carers reported waiting long periods of time to access support for their children and young people, without advice or information during this time. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have a recovery plan in place to reduce the 12 week target.

Kooth online counselling has also been commissioned to provide free online access to counselling for children and young people.  It will be promoted to those who are on service waiting lists.

MindMate single point of access telephone self referral was launched in October 2018.  Online referral will launch at the end of the year

Parents and carers felt that there was a lack of acknowledgment of the effects of certain conditions, such as Autism, on a child’s or young person’s mental health. We will be working with colleagues across the Future in Mind Partnership to review the post diagnosis support pathway for children and families affected by Autism
Parents and carers reported that they  were not always listened to regarding their child’s or young person’s symptoms and behaviour. In relation to improving support for children and families affected by behavioural issues including Autism, we plan to work with commissioning colleagues across the Future in Mind Partnership to review feedback and implement changes following the findings of this report
Difficulty in obtaining a referral with parents and carers feeling the criteria for support was too high. We are working with GP’s across Leeds to improve understanding of the services available and the referral process.  CAHMS community crisis service will be launching in 2019 and we are currently awaiting confirmation of extra funding to extend the service to evenings, weekends, and bank holidays.

Teen Connect helpline launched in June 2018 to support children and young people who are experiencing mental health crisis.

The Market Place are piloting a safe space for children and young people experiencing mental health crisis which will inform the wider Safe Space service provision which will be procured 2019/20.  This will provide support to children and young people and their families experiencing mental health crisis

Lack of clarity around what services are available and the pathways to accessing that support We will continue to promote the MindMate web site to highlight services and resources available.  We will also review the service directory including pathways with parents and professionals around the content of the website.
Lack of support and understanding from school staff We have shared the findings of this report  with Local Authority staff from the Health and Wellbeing Service and Learning Inclusion Service. It has also been shared with CAMHS.
Lack of guidance, support and advice for parents and carers. We will look at the feedback from this report and will continue to promote the MindMate website to highlight services and resources available to parents/carers.
Parents and carers reported their child’s/young person’s mental health issues had adversely impacted their family as a whole When commissioning services we ask providers to take on the “think family approach” supporting not just the person with the mental health issue.
Communication between services could be better We are reviewing the feedback from this report and sharing the report with our partners to continually improve communication


Equality analysis and engagement plan (380 KB)

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