Effective systems and accessible services

Dr Warner-Gale’s findings support the ambitions of accessible, responsive, timely and comprehensive CAMHS provision. Recent improvements in local CAMHS commissioning and delivery, including the development of transparent referral criteria and protocols, can contribute to a reduction in confusion and reluctance amongst children and families when seeking help.

The gap that exists between specialist and universal services could be closed by the development of services or roles at the interface between services, for example the primary mental health worker role or multi-agency services.




Methods for successful implementation of effective systems and accessible services

The priority here is having clearly defined and well communicated care pathways and referral criteria that children, families and professionals can understand and act upon. This is not just about making it easy to access services, but also about making the process of moving through and then out of services effortless and seamless.

The provision of timely services is key so that children and families do not feel marginalised by having to wait. Effective service provision is also about having services where young people are integrated into school provision or in one stop shops, where accessing emotional wellbeing and mental health services is normalised.



Case study: Mental Health Toolkit

In Northumberland specialist CAMHS, the tackling stigma pilot and the local Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) programme are developing a Mental Health Toolkit to be used in schools by professionals. The toolkit will contain information on referral pathways, services and interventions offered at different levels.

The intention of this intervention is to demystify ideas and perceptions of CAMHS and reduce any fears or potential barriers. The evidence of need for this intervention stems from TaMHS which evidenced a gap in materials produced in accessible language for children and young people. They are using a software package to analyse whether materials are in plain English.

Currently specialist CAMHS are in the process of designing materials which will then be presented to children and young people for their feedback. They anticipate success to be the continual use of this intervention throughout CAMHS for children and young people.

The toolkit will be piloted in TaMHS schools through designated mental heath leads who are professionals that have received specific training. They are equipped with knowledge and confidence when presented with children or young people with mental health problems.

Learn more from the Northumberland pilot site



  • Microsoft Word Document Bristol care pathway toolkit: emotional well-being and mental health support for children and young people in schools

    A toolkit to help schools in developing a directory of services and pathways for children in school requiring mental health service input.

    Publisher: Bristol Healthy Schools Programme
    Published Date: 01/10/2006

  • Website Primary Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (PCAHMS)

    An Oxfordshire service which is a key stage in the development of Oxfordshire’s integrated child and adolescent mental health strategy. It is an early intervention service which should ensure many more children are seen and get the treatment they need quickly.

    Publisher: Primary Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (PCAMHS)
    Published Date: 20/09/2010

  • Website Kooth

    Kooth is an online counselling service for young people which also provides information, advice, self help tools are referral on where needed.

    Publisher: Kooth
    Published Date: 24/09/2010



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