Mental Healthcare in Young People and Young Adults
For anyone working with young people, this recent report from the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) will make an interesting read. It uses routinely collected national datasets to give a national picture of the quality of physical and mental healthcare currently provided, and how patients with mental health conditions use these services. Read more...
We know from another recent comprehensive Department of Health report, Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017, that an increasing number of young people are reported to experience mental ill-health. It is therefore very likely that those working in schools and other services accessed by young people will come across a young person that has sought or may need to seek mental health care provision.
This report is a detailed study of the mental healthcare provided to young people from the unique perspective of the overlap between physical and mental healthcare. The report draws a range of conclusions relating to access to care, quality of care and areas for improvement. An overarching theme is a recognition of the disparity between physical health and mental health provision, there is still a lack in the provision of mental health services for young people between the ages of 11 and 25.
The report makes a range of recommendations for improvement that involve the wider professional teams involved in the care and support for young people. Many of these recommendations focus on the care provided in hospitals and units. The overarching themes are improving mental health support and training within general hospitals, the transition between general hospitals and specialist settings and transition arrangements from child and adolescent services to adult care.
The report also highlights the inequality of access to inpatient care and the increased rate of missed follow up appointments, post-discharge, for those from the most deprived backgrounds. Young males also feature highly in missed appointments.
The report’s recommendations extend to those working in education to help reduce stigma around mental health, and the need to improve the help-seeking behaviours of young males. Though this work has begun in schools, with wider access to information and materials as well as access to training and support from mental health organisations, it still has some way to go before all identified groups have access to the support and care when they need it.
The findings of the report also identifies poorer educational outcomes at KS 4, as well as poorer school attendance for those experiencing depression and self-harm. The report also finds that males admitted to primary care with self-harming behaviours were at greater risk of school exclusion. In line with current thinking on access to mental health services, the report recommends the implementation of evidence-based interventions in all healthcare and educational settings and organisations.
The report clearly adds to the body of evidence that points to the urgent need for a holistic approach to the health, education and care needs for all young people. By putting the young person at the centre and recognising that physical and mental health needs are intertwined and that education plays a role in ensuring that young people understand the importance of good mental health and are empowered to seek help when needed is a step in the right direction. The giant leap though is the design and delivery of a service that sees these recommendations, together with evidence-based best practice, operational and accessible to all young people who need it regardless of background and location.
For the full report please go to www.hqip.org.uk/resource/mental-healthcare-in-young-people-and-young-adults/#.XZW-_UZKjIW