Transition from child and adolescent to adult mental services: a young person's perspective

What is the video about?

Three young people describe, in an intensely personal way, how transition from CAMHS felt for them. They discuss the onset of their mental health problems and their experience of transition to adult services, which they describe as scary, confusing, and ‘like falling down a cliff with rocky bits’. Admission to adult wards was particularly frightening. Young people and their families want information, joined up services, and to be listened to. Otherwise, being discharged ‘feels like being given up on’.

The second half of the film is about the integrated Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust. The challenge is to improve transition when young people are no longer eligible for services from the child and adolescent mental health team at the age of 16. Young people were getting lost in the gap between services and many were not accessing services. The aim of creating special new services is to decrease the anxiety of young people and their families and to improve the transition. Services managed by health include a transition clinic, whilst social services run a peer support group and a drop-in counselling service. Staff and young people talk about the ways in which these new services are of benefit.

Messages for practice

The interviews with young people show that:

  1. Signposting is very important. Young people and their families need information about services on offer.
  2. Agencies should work together to provide integrated services.
  3. Young people should be asked about their views - they want to be listened to, to matter, and to be taken seriously.
  4. Above all, remember that, in the words of young people, "It’s not our fault when we get to 18".

The right support for young people making the transition makes the difference. This includes:

  1. Developing services that are flexible and welcoming to young people.
  2. Making sure that young people have access to a designated lead professional.
  3. Effective collaborative work between services.

Who will find this useful?

Policy leads, managers and all staff in adult and adolescent and child mental health services