Children and young people’s mental health services in Leeds

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Summary of report content

In December 2014 a partnership between YoungMinds and Healthwatch Leeds was formed to undertake a thorough consultation for Leeds in this area. This was endorsed by Leeds City Council Health and Wellbeing and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Board in relation to their inquiry into Leeds Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS). It was also welcomed by Leeds Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) who were in the process of reviewing the whole system of emotional and mental services for children and young people in Leeds. YoungMinds and Healthwatch Leeds ran a survey (online and paper based) during January 2015 for young people aged 11-25 and parent/carers of children who had used mental health services and relevant professionals in Leeds. 300 responses were recorded (113 young people, 102 professionals and 85 parent/ carers). This was complemented by a focus group which was attended by 12 young people aged 15-25. The purpose of the consultation and subsequent workshop was to explore people’s current views and experiences of mental health services. The findings from both surveys and workshops fed into this report. The key findings within the report state there was a general concern and frustration from all parties that many children and young people wait too long for the right support, particularly within specialist CAMHS. Parent/carers and young people also talked about the lack of support and communication from services during their wait and the detrimental impact of the wait on their mental health and family relationships. There was significant concern amongst professionals about the threshold for referral to CAMHS being too high, and that only referrals for children and young people with the most serious issues were being accepted. Young people, parents and professionals rated highly the quality of services offered by CAMHS for those children and young people that ‘got through the door’ but felt that some of the most vulnerable children and young people were ‘slipping through the net’. Key gaps in services were mentioned, such as access to crisis support and the gap between TaMHS and CAMHS, where young people needed more support than TaMHS could offer but didn’t meet the criteria for CAMHS. The transition to adult services was also an issue for young people. There was some lack of awareness and misunderstanding by professionals and some carers about referral systems and waiting times of some services including TaMHS, CAMHS and The Market Place. There was a general feeling that referral systems could be easier and more straightforward. Young people and parents raised the need for more young people friendly services of confidentiality and the option to see professionals without their parents. The Market Place was frequently mentioned as a good example of a young people friendly service in terms of its welcoming environment, flexibility, choice and confidentiality policy. Young people and parents acknowledged many times the positive impact from services, the quality of care and support they had received from individual professionals. Although the majority of young people and parent/carers spoke highly of professionals, there were a significant number that reported feeling frustrated by professionals that didn’t listen to them. Some felt that they were being driven by the professionals’ agenda rather than taking a more child or young person centred approach. TaMHS was described as a service that was working well, providing accessible good quality care locally with quicker referral times than CAMHS. which were local, flexible with appointment times and in less clinical environments. They also stressed the importance to them.

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General details

Report title 
Children and young people’s mental health services in Leeds
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Leeds
Date of publication 
Monday, 1 December, 2014
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 December, 2014
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 1 December, 2014
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Building and facilities
Quality of care
Quality of staffing
Quality of treatment
Staff levels
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Voluntary and Community Sector
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Mental health services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.