Eight ways to make a difference: children's and young people's mental health servicesDownload (PDF 621KB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Gateshead and Healthwatch Newcastle-upon-Tyne undertook research about children and young people’s experience of mental health services following several changes to the way these services were delivered locally. They received 279 responses to a survey and spoke to 17 individuals via one-to-one interviews and a focus group.
The report starts by looking at people’s experience of self-referrals to children and young people’s mental health services. People still wanted to refer themselves via a GP or another health or social care professional. When asked how they wanted the self-referral process to be promoted, the most common methods were via teachers and school staff or social media.
Most people had not heard of Kooth, an online counselling and support service, and hardly anyone had used it. When Healthwatch told people what Kooth was, most felt that it was a useful resource and said it should be promoted more via teachers, schools and social media.
Most people Healthwatch spoke to via one-to-one interviews and a focus group were aware of the single point of access, and most were happy with the service they received. They said that the service was good, provided useful information, was well organised and responsive. These people also highlighted that the staff were friendly, helpful, approachable and did listen.
One-to-one interviews and the focus group highlighted other issues with children’s and young people’s access to mental health services, including waiting times, limited access to support between appointments and pre- and post-diagnosis and poor quality of service.
The report contains eight recommendations about promoting and improving children and young people’s access to mental health services.