Leeds sets out plans to improve children and young people’s emotional and mental health

The NHS in Leeds and Leeds City Council have agreed eleven recommendations to improve the emotional and mental health of children and young people in the city including the redesign of support and services.
The Leeds recommendations result from a 6-month review, which involved all key partners in the city, and particularly the voice and experience of Leeds children and young people.
The recommendations were agreed the same day that the government national taskforce focusing on this area released its report (March 17th).
Dr Jane Mischenko, the children’s and maternity services commissioning lead for the NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Groups, is a member of the National Taskforce.
She said: “We’re delighted that our recommendations have been approved and will be working quickly to implement. Our recommendations align with those put forward by the National Taskforce yesterday and put us a step ahead in ensuring that services in Leeds are fit for purpose. We are leading the way on many fronts and are particularly proud to be able to demonstrate that improvements can be achieved through better links between the NHS, local authorities, charities, schools and other local services. This was one of the key issues highlighted in The National Taskforce Report.
“The approval of our recommendations marks an important step; access to emotional and mental health support will be simpler, easier and earlier for children and young people in the city, something that they have repeatedly told us they need.”
The 11 recommendations focus on improving access and experience for children and young people using emotional and mental health services, prioritise dealing with issues early in the problem and include supporting vulnerable children better.
Working together locally, the NHS CCGs are investing around £360k in 2015/16 to bring waiting times for autism assessments within NICE guidance (12 weeks).

Key recommendations, of both the Leeds and National reviews are the need to support more local and accessible services, and for partners to work together to jointly commission services. From 2015/16 the three Leeds CCGs will jointly commission the locally delivered early intervention service with the 25 school clusters across Leeds.

There are exciting digital opportunities already underway, such as the development of a website ‘Mindmate’, which young people have been leading, in terms of content and design from the beginning.