Best For You provides a patient-centred model of care
Child and adolescent mental health is a growing public health crisis in the UK
Best For You, a new patient-centred model of care to help the increasing numbers of young people requiring urgent mental health care has been launched by NHS Trusts in North West London.
Three Trusts in London - Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and West London NHS Trust - have come together with the charity CW+ and other local and national partners to create a new approach called Best For You.
For the first time, specialist medical and mental health care will be combined and integrated with community services and digital tools to with the aim of providing comprehensive, rapid and long-term care in a way that best meets the needs of the individual and their family.
Child and adolescent mental health is a growing public health crisis in the UK with the COVID-19 pandemic causing a steep rise in numbers of young people affected: 1 in 6 children and young people aged 5-16 are likely to have a mental health problem but only 25% receive the treatment they need.
The first phase of Best For You is the programme website – www.bestforyou.org.uk – which has been fast-tracked to provide a widely accessible online port of call for young people and families looking for mental health support.
The new website combines:
Every element of Best For You - including the new digital platform - is being developed in collaboration with young people and their families.
Day services will launch next year to provide a space for young people and their families to get immediate mental health support without needing an appointment including outpatient clinical care, therapies and family support. The day services will connect with the inpatient service and community services to ensure patient experience is not fragmented.
Aaron, who has been involved in Best For You since its inception, said, “I didn’t know who to talk to or where to go for help when my mental health began to deteriorate. I was frightened and felt incredibly isolated and alone. At one point, I reached rock bottom and couldn’t see a way out. Thankfully, I found the right help and I’m now at university, something I never thought possible two years ago.
“Tragically, more and more young people need urgent mental health support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think we are dealing with a double pandemic and that calls for bold changes in the form of Best For You. Best For You would have made a huge difference to my life. I’m glad other young people will be able to access the help they need, when they need it.”
Community services will bridge the gap between the clinical and community setting. Partnerships with the private sector, schools, community groups, crisis services and digital services aim to ensure comprehensive and personalised care is optimised and, critically, available for as long as required.
A Young People’s Rapid Assessment Unit staffed by a multidisciplinary team will integrate, for the first time, medical care with mental health care to try to quickly and seamlessly assess, transfer and treat young people requiring help. Currently, the treatment of a young person in mental health crisis draws a line between physical and mental health assessment.
Claire Murdoch, Chief Executive of the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, says, “We are determined to improve mental health care for our children and young people. The NHS can’t do this alone. We have to do this in collaboration with young people and their families, and with our partners in the charitable and private sector. Together, we can transform the way we treat the increasing numbers of young people requiring urgent mental health support.”
On an ongoing basis, young people and their families have been, and will continue to be, involved in co-developing Best For You. The digital platform, which has been fast-tracked to help as many young people as possible in North West London and beyond, has been the focus of service-user engagement to date, garnered via youth groups, NHS young volunteer programmes, schools (pupils, parents and teachers) and other organisations such as Participation People.
Carolyn Regan, Chief Executive of West London NHS Trust outlines, “The launch of the digital platform today is the first of many milestones for the Best For You programme. With young people increasingly turning to online resources to seek peer-to-peer support as well as expert guidance, we’ve engaged with young people to develop content that reassures, inspires and encourages others to seek help. By working with young people and their families and by bringing together NHS experts and our local and national partners, we hope we can continue to urgently transform how care is delivered to help more young people in crisis.”
Lesley Watts, Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, “I am delighted we are officially launching Best For You today. It is a pioneering approach, centred around the needs of younger people and their families. Best For You is an innovative model of care that is easier and faster to access, offers joined-up and comprehensive care and I believe sets a new standard for children and younger people's mental health in our area."
The effectiveness of Best For You is being measured by Imperial College and North West London NIHR Applied Research (NIHR) Collaboration with a view to being able to test, template and share the new model across the NHS.
If you want to be involved or find out more about how you can support the inpatient, day and community services, contact CW+ via www.cwplus.org.uk/bestforyou.
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November 29, 2021