Mental health service transitions for young people

Accessible and easy to use mental health services: Holistic services


Take account of the wider context of young people's lives: there is a growing evidence base that helping young people with broader life issues leads to improvements in their mental health.

There is growing evidence that paying attention to 'broader issues' - for example, education, employment and housing - may benefit mental health outcomes.

Young people want to be considered as 'people', not as a 'bundle of problems'. Staff should consider the young person's mental health needs in the context of their life and experiences: family, networks, friends, housing, interests, education and training, or work. Because young people are growing and changing, they will have a wide variety of life events and needs to be considered, all of which may affect mental health. They may need support with issues at home, at school and with relationships.

Young people receiving services value the contribution of youth services and clubs, colleges, education and housing. They say that supported housing could play a key role in service transition, including practical and emotional support. Staff from third-sector agencies and supported housing can help by, for example, accompanying young people to appointments with mental health services.

Young people also want the opportunity for self-discovery, to have fun and to develop life skills: above all, they are young

Young people have lots of problems and it's easier for them to walk into a place that deals with young people … it's good to come to just one place where they sort everything out …'

20-year-old man (12)

The SCIE advisory group emphasised that service transitions take place not only from CAMHS but also from education settings such as special schools and pupil referral units. The input from education professionals is therefore very important.

Practice example

  • Central Norfolk EIT focuses on promoting social activity and engagement, education, peer and family support. Young people report that the service is accessible, and that staff listen, give clear information, suggest ideas on how to cope, help to tackle bullying at school, negotiate additional support in school, and offer opportunities to meet other young people.