Using key themes from our engagement with service users and service providers, in 2018, we published a preliminary report on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Greenwich. This report builds on our earlier work and follows up on how our recommendations have been addressed.
In January 2020, we held a meeting with the Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) Children Services, South East London Clinical Commissioning Group (Greenwich) and Oxleas NHS Trust. In March 2020, we held a further meeting with RBG Public Health. The purpose of these meetings were to identify progress in addressing our recommendations, as detailed below.
- Health equality audit: Following our initial recommendation, in 2019, the Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) carried out a health equality audit covering children’s mental health. This identified a disparity between white and BAME children and their families in terms of accessing mental health services, due to the stigma surrounding the use of mental health services. As a result RBG Public Health will work with faith groups to increase engagement and deepen understanding of mental health needs in ethnic minority communities.
- Responding to foster carer requests for access to training and providing an update on accessing training and development for carers and parents: To access training, foster carers discuss training needs with their Supervising Social Worker. This ensures the most appropriate training is offered and the right support is put in place. The Fostering Service shares information on foster carer training with all foster carers.
- Assessments and treatment at the child’s home: In 2018, we held a meeting with the Greenwich CCG CAMHS commissioner to discuss what services were being developed to support children and young people. At the time we were told that plans were underway for a mental health home treatment team. During our follow-up meeting this year, we were informed that Oxleas always consider the nearest place a child or young person can be seen – depending on whether they are known to CAMHS, with the aim being to deliver support where it will be most beneficial to the young person. If for example, a child or young person is in a local school, they will be given the choice of receiving support in school or in a clinical setting. Underpinning this decision is the level of risk; risk to both the child or young person and the staff determine the setting for treatment interventions.
- Services available before placements are ‘settled’: Oxleas have a dedicated team supporting children in, or on the edge of care with their mental health and wellbeing needs. For those in a settled placement, Oxleas work closely with each child’s or young person’s support network, through meetings and clinical in-reach. Clinical in-reach brings schools, Early Help and the Youth Offending Service (YOS) together to review and reflect on the support and 10 interventions offered. The clinical in-reach model allows for early identification and intervention for vulnerable groups across the borough.
- Supporting young people in further/higher education with mental health concerns: Mental Health commissioners and providers work with educational settings, e.g. colleges and schools. For instance, last year the CCG, alongside RBG and Oxleas, gained funding from NHS England to pilot two Mental Health Support Teams covering 20 schools in the borough.
Overall, it is clear that much progress has been made to address our recommendations set out in 2018. The findings above demonstrate a clear commitment from RBG Public Health and Children’s Services, Oxleas, and SEL CCG (Greenwich) to continue to improve the mental health support offer for children and young people in Greenwich, underpinned by a collaborative infrastructure.