This week, we launched Best For You, a new, transformative approach to child and adolescent mental health care that we have codeveloped in partnership with three North West London NHS Trusts to help the increasing numbers of young people requiring urgent mental health care.
Child and adolescent mental health is a growing public health crisis in the UK with the COVID-19 pandemic causing a steep rise in numbers of young people affected: 1 in 6 children and young people aged 5-16 are likely to have a mental health problem 1 but only 25% receive the treatment they need 2.
Together with Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and West London NHS Trust, we are integrating – for the first time – specialist medical and mental health care with community services and digital tools to provide comprehensive, rapid and long-term care in a way that best meets the needs of the individual and their family. Importantly, we are co-creating Best For You with children and adolescents to provide a service that truly meets the needs of young people and their families.
The first phase of Best For You is the programme website – www.bestforyou.org.uk – which has been fast-tracked to provide a much-needed and widely accessible online port of call for young people and families looking for mental health support.
The new website uniquely combines:
- A portfolio of innovative, clinically-assessed and age-appropriate digital aids including a library of safe and ORCHA accredited apps that have been rigorously vetted and tested.
- Clinically-approved information about conditions, accessing services and support.
- Crisis information including a dedicated text support service that is free, confidential and accessible 24/7.
- Peer support that aims to connect young people and inspire them to not feel afraid about seeking support with advice on how to find the help they need.
Every element of Best For You – including the new digital platform – is being developed in collaboration with young people and their families:
- Day services will launch next year to provide a space for young people and their families to get immediate mental health support without needing an appointment, including outpatient clinical care, therapies and family support. The day services will connect with the inpatient service and community services to ensure patient experience is not fragmented but instead joined-up and available long-term to support recovery and ongoing wellbeing.
- Community services will bridge the gap between the clinical and community setting. Innovative partnerships with the private sector, schools, community groups, crisis services and digital services will ensure comprehensive and personalised care is optimised and, critically, available for as long as required.
- A Young People’s Rapid Assessment Unit staffed by a multidisciplinary team will integrate, for the first time, medical care with mental health care to quickly and seamlessly assess, transfer and treat young people requiring help. Currently, the treatment of a young person in mental health crisis draws a line between physical and mental health assessment.
Chris Chaney, Chief Executive of CW+ says: “We are delighted to officially launch Best For You. It is a pioneering approach, centred around the needs of the young person. By working in collaboration with young people and their families, and with our local and national partners in the private, education, community and volunteering sectors, we hope to transform the way we treat the increasing numbers of young people requiring mental health support. We hope to set a new standard of care that can be rolled-out across the NHS.”
The effectiveness of Best For You is being measured by Imperial College and North West London NIHR Applied Research (NIHR) Collaboration with a view to being able to test, template and share the new model across the UK and beyond.
Follow Best For You on social media: @BestForYouNHS
1. [NHS Digital: Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 202-: Wave 1 follow up to the 2017 survey Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020: Wave 1 follow up to the 2017 survey – NHS Digital]↩
2. [The Children’s Society: Children’s mental health statistics Children’s Mental Health Statistics | The Children’s Society (childrenssociety.org.uk)]↩