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Youngsters put at heart of mental health reform

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MSYPs and other young people have been involved in ensuring support for adolescents is improved

Young leaders are set to be involved in ensuring support is there for adolescents who require mental health services.

A guide co-designed by young people to create a smoother transition from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services was launched today (Wednesday) in Edinburgh.

Clinicians, mental health services and young people have advocated passionately for improved transitions between services, which resulted in the Scottish Government committing to this work under the Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027.

At the invitation of the Scottish Government and CAMHS in Edinburgh, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) has been working with MSYPs and a group of young volunteers to develop a Transition Care Plan (TCP), which will help children and young people to plan and navigate their transition from CAMHS to adult mental health services.

In line with SYP’s youth-led ethos and giving young people a stronger voice through Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 , this approach meant the guide was co-designed by young people themselves, many of whom had personal experience of mental health services.

The TCP puts young people’s voices at the heart of this transition by enabling them to have their say and better communicate vital information to mental health clinicians about their wellbeing, lifestyle, current treatment, and understanding of the transition process.

Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey MSP, said: “Young people have told us that a transition between CAMHS and adult mental health services can be a difficult time.

“To help make this transition as seamless as possible, these plans have been co-produced and co-designed entirely by young people and clinicians themselves. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved for a truly ground-breaking piece of work, which is particularly fitting given that 2018 is the Year of Young People.

“I want this to become consistent practice for all young people transitioning from CAMHS to adult services, and my expectation is that health boards across Scotland will use the Transition Care Plans as standard.”

Lead clinician for Lothian CAMHS, Cathy Richards, said: “Some of the challenges facing young people moving from CAMHS to adult mental health services is that this transition usually happens at the same time as other big life changes such as starting work or college, moving away from family and friends, etc., where lots of their familiar support networks change.

“The late teens and early 20s can also be a significantly risky period in terms of mental health problems, so having a well-planned transition from CAMHS to adult mental health services can be especially important.

“The benefit of the TCPs, developed by SYP, is that young people themselves and those close to them will now be more empowered to participate in this planning process which will support services in their planning and also make it much more likely that the TCP works as well as possible for the young person.”

Robbie Burgess MSYP said: “Change can be incredibly difficult for anyone - of any age - let alone a young person struggling with their mental health. It’s so important that the transition from CAMHS to adult mental health services is as seamless as possible, and the creation of the TCP will go a long way in enabling that to happen.

“At SYP, we’ve seen first-hand through our campaign on young people’s mental health, Speak Your Mind, just how serious a problem this is.”



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