“Healthy Children and Happy Families”, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services Conference | News

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“Healthy Children and Happy Families”, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services Conference

Our Children and Young People’s Division held their first conference, “Healthy Children and Happy Families” at the Royal National Hotel in central London on Thursday 6 June. The event provided a valuable opportunity to reflect on and discuss critical issues affecting young people and mental health services and was attended by over 130 colleagues from across the Partnership, the voluntary sector, social care, commissioners and clinicians from other Trusts in North Central London.

Today, up to 20% of young people can present with symptoms of a mental health disorder at any time. Opening the conference, our Chief Executive Jinjer Kandola highlighted how as an organisation we remain dedicated to prevention and early intervention, working closely with schools and local community groups to provide the necessary support. The pathway from child to adult mental health services is notoriously difficult, however through co-production, listening to the voices of those who use our services, we can strive to better support our young people and improve this transition.

In addition to talks from staff members in the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service (CYPMHS), we were joined by external speakers.

We were pleased to welcome Sheena Gohal and Grace Harding from NHS England, who reflected on the NHS long-term plan commitments concerning children and young people’s services. Professor Stringaris, a renowned professor of child and adolescent psychiatry from UCL, delivered an inspiring talk titled, "What Evidence Base is Good for Clinical Practice and Why All of Us Clinicians Are Also Researchers?"

Breakout sessions allowed attendees to delve deeper into specific subjects and presented a fantastic opportunity to discuss key issues they face in their day to day roles and explore opportunities for further improvement:

  1. Working Across Stakeholders – facilitated by Tim Miller, Assistant Director of Place, Integration, Transformation & Delivery (Haringey), ICB
  2. Digital – Enhancing the Digital Offer – facilitated by Emily Burch, Chief Nursing Information Officer
  3. Freeing Up Time to Improve Patient Outcomes- facilitated by Lavanya Newington, Performance Improvement Manager and Anna Spiteri, Quality Improvement Advisor

One of the overarching themes of the day was co-production. CYPMHS Managing Director Ben Mensah emphasised, “co-production is essential to what we do”. The recently formed Youth Board, comprising inspiring individuals who have shown a deep commitment to mental health advocacy and are working with our services to design and develop programs, were also represented at the conference. Members Emilia, Ella, and Vionice presented alongside Co-Production and Engagement lead King Agyapong on the work of the Youth Board so far. Emilia's personal account of her experience with CYPMHS was particularly moving, prompting reflection on the care provided.

King showcased his efforts to engage young people and harder-to-reach communities, including the multi-faith project which aims to reach faith groups in our boroughs and engage them in conversations around mental health.

The panel on stage offering closing remarks

The conference concluded with a “Next Steps and Reflections” discussion, allowing attendees to ask questions and reflect on the themes discussed throughout the day.

Ben Mensah remarked, "The conversation doesn't stop here. This bold and brave step is just the start. We want to carry this work forward and continue today's discussions." Chief Operating Officer Jess Lievesley reflected on the importance of staying true to the organisation’s values, fostering a new culture that allows for significant, bold changes and reasserting ourselves as a leading provider for children and young people’s services.

Finally, youth board member Avishai closed the conference by acknowledging the frustrations both staff members and young people face, and thanking everyone for their perseverance and dedication to ensuring co-production remains at the heart of all the services work.

Click here to find out more about our Children and Young People Mental Health Service. 

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