Addressing this gap in support for children and young people
The Mental Health Implementation Network aims to address this gap in treatment and services by supporting interventions designed to increase access to a range of psychological therapies for children and young people.
The project will build on the approach developed by the NHS’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. Since it began in 2008, this IAPT programme has transformed the treatment of adult anxiety disorders and depression in England – providing millions of adults with access to talking therapies to help overcome their depression and anxiety.
IAPT-style interventions could help to meet the needs of children experiencing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) – such as neglect, poverty, losing a parent, or living with a parent with severe mental illness – and children living with their own mental health difficulties. Access to therapies can help to identify children experiencing difficulties, refer them for treatment if needed, and provide a range of support through interventions delivered at school.
Interventions delivered in school to support mental health have been shown to help build resilience and wellbeing in children, address problem behaviours, and support positive family relationships. These interventions usually include a combination of interactive educational and psychosocial-based activities delivered by teachers at a low-cost.
Aim of this project
The aim of this MHIN project is to expand access to mental health care for children and young people using IAPT-style services, especially by increasing available support in schools.
In expanding the availability of IAPT-style services, we aim to:
- Improve the resilience and wellbeing of children and young people
- Reduce behaviour problems in children and young people
- Identify children and families who need tailored support
- Reduce waiting times for children and young people from referral to treatment.
Selecting interventions for scale up
The implementation and scale up of interventions addressing this NHS priority builds on the national transformation programme, which is already underway and is backed by NICE guidelines.
Interventions will be co-designed and finalised in the next phase of the MHIN. They will be co-developed and designed with clinicians, Academic Health Science Network (AHSNs) and MHIN colleagues, research project leads, participating ARCs, experts by experience, charities and third sector organisations.