Greenwich CAMHS part of £32 million government scheme

News: Greenwich CAMHS Lesley French
Lesley French, Head of Child Psychology at Oxleas

Oxleas’ Greenwich Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) is going to be part of a national £32 million investment in psychological therapies, including talking therapies, for children and young people with mental health problems.

The Government asked universities and teaching providers to link up with local CAMHS partnerships to transform services for children and young people’s mental health. The first phase of the project includes University College London and King’s College London as the joint Higher Education Institutions covering Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Greenwich, Lambeth & Southwark, Haringey, Westminster and Wandsworth.

Greenwich CAMHS will work alongside schools, families and other services to support the needs of young people in a diverse way. Each successful local partnership will have an allowance in their budget for participation. Greenwich CAHMS will get funding amounting to £300,000.

Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Lesley French, who has been with the trust since 2004, said that the driver for the bid was Oxleas highly skilled workforce that is already in situ. Staff are being retrained and it is hoped to start the new service early in the New Year. Lesley, who is Head of Child Psychology for the trust continued: “This is an opportunity for Oxleas CAMHS to continue a process of service transformation where young people will have a clear say in the development of child mental health services.

“The bid for Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) in Greenwich represents a partnership between NHS Greenwich, Greenwich Local Authority, Greenwich CAMHS and Young Minds. 

“The IAPT clinical team will begin training in January 2012 and in the first phase will provide a series of groups for parents with young children with severe behavioural problems using evidence-based therapies. Session by session monitoring of progress will mean the outcomes for families are constantly evaluated.”

One in ten children aged 5-16 years has a clinically diagnosable mental health problem. At any one time, more than a million children will have a diagnosable mental health disorder and mental illness in childhood and adolescence costs up to £59,000 per child every year.

Giving children the right help early on can set them up for life - reducing the chance of them ending up in prison and making them more likely to get a job when they grow up.

Psychological therapies have been successful in helping adults to recover from anxiety and depression with many going back to work and living more functional lives. We know that children and young people have very different needs to adults, so this scheme takes the successful parts of the adult programme and adapts them for children and young people.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said recently: ”We're breaking new ground with this investment in children's mental health. We're working with young people and staff to start to change the way mental health is delivered by the NHS. Half of those with mental health problems first experience symptoms by the age of 14, and three quarters before their mid-20s. This pioneering work will focus on early and effective treatment.

“We know psychological therapies work. Our aim is to transform existing mental health services for children so our children get the best treatment possible, from services that are more responsive to their needs.”

Published on 24th November 2011