Last week the nation celebrated the 70th birthday of the NHS, but the week also marked an exciting new direction for child and adolescent mental health care treatment in Oxfordshire.

Oxford Health officially launch its new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) model for the Oxfordshire county, which will allow young people, families and carers to make direct initial contact with our services for the first time.

At a special event in Oxford on Tuesday (3/7), Andrea Shand (pictured with mic), the CAMHS Head of Service for Oxfordshire, presented our new model of care to an audience made up of individuals from agencies across the county, including local authority services, social care, our partner organisations, teachers, youth workers, young people who have used our services and their parents and carers.

The new model will see us working with charity partners, including Response, the lead partner, TRAX, Synolos, Ark-T, Banbury Young Homelessness Project, RAW, SOFEA, Oxfordshire Youth and Autism Family Support who we are working with in our new Neurodevelopmental Conditions Pathway.

It also sees the creation of a new Single Point of Access (SPA) Team, that will for the first time be able to speak directly to the young people in need of our services or their parents or carers – removing perceived barriers to allow easier access to care and support.

“This is a really big development for CAMHS and the way we provide mental health services,” said Andrea Shand.

“We know the sooner someone gets help for any medical issue, be that a physical or mental health condition, then the chances of a speedier, better recovery are greater.

“Here at Oxford Health, we have done a lot of work to engage with young people ahead of our new model’s launch, to discover and understand the things they want from our services.

“For many, the ability to be able to speak to someone over the phone, or send us an email and reach out for help and support, was seen as a really positive development in helping to encourage people in need to get help.”

The new SPA will be accessible Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm via 01865 902515 or via email at OxonCAMHSSPA@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk. People will also be able to go onto the new Oxfordshire CAMHS website, where they can find a wide range of information and support.

To visit the new CAMHS website go to www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/camhs/oxon.

Andrea added: “It seemed fitting for our new model’s official launch to take place as we mark the 70th birthday or the NHS.

“This new model provides us with a structure and a new way of working that better meets the demands of the young people who need us and makes us more accessible for future generations.”

The involvement of the new charity partners to our new model gives us better access to young people who may have historically been harder to reach.

They also provide an exciting new range of settings for us to work with young people, away from “established” healthcare settings which have less stigma attached to them.

Andrea added: “Our new partners each offer a different way of engaging with young people, which means we have a really broad base to work from.”