A major initiative to improve the support provided to young people with mental health issues was launched on Tuesday 24 April.
More young people in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset, Dorset and Gloucestershire are set to benefit from ‘Children and Young People’s IAPT’ (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) which enables clinicians to be trained to provide therapies that address depression, anxiety and other behavioural problems.
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which provides young people’s mental health services to a number of counties in the South of England, and The Charlie Waller Institute at the University of Reading, are jointly involved in a three-year pilot project that began in November last year.
Yvonne Taylor, Director of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Children and Families Division, said: “We are delighted to officially launch our IAPT collaborative which aims to transform our existing services by adopting elements of the adult IAPT programme to improve services for children and young people. Close collaboration between the therapist and young person is a key element of this approach. Young people are also pivotal in shaping our services.”
Half of children and young people with long-term mental health problems first experience symptoms before the age of 14 and three quarters of them before their mid-twenties. Early and effective intervention when problems first appear can make a significant difference.
Young service users have central to developing the project. Members of Article 12 Council, a young people’s group, have been involved in the interviewing process for trainee therapies and supervisors. They sat on the interview panel over a series of days, asked their own set of questions and gave their views on prospective candidates which were taken into account when recruiting.
Young people have also designed and delivered a training session to young people’s mental health professionals about the importance of participation of young people in how services are developed and delivered. Currently, they are making a film to raise awareness of what increasing access to psychological therapies (IAPT) means to them.
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Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of specialist mental health services in five different localities as well as physical healthcare to patients in Oxfordshire.
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