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Starting Well: Children and Young People's Mental Health
The Children and Young People's Mental Health theme works to enable and enrich approaches to research, evaluation and intervention development and implementation.
We will focus on early detection and intervention of mental health problems in children and young people.
The Starting Well: Children and Young People's Mental Health Subthemes include:
- Severe mental health problems in adolescence and neurodiversity
- School based mental health
- Seldom heard groups of young people and communities
For information, resources and updates on current research projects please refer to the below project themes.
Who is who/Our team
Professor David Fowler, Starting Well: Children and Young People's Mental Health Theme Lead
Becca Randell, Starting Well: Children and Young People's Mental Health Implementation Manager
Devyn Glass, Starting Well: Children and Young People's Mental Health Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Claire Vella, Starting Well: Children and Young People's Mental Health Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
To sign up to receive updates on research, events and funding within the Starting well theme click here.
Youth Mental Health
Around 90 people from in and around Sussex came together for the Sussex Youth Mental Health Summit event held on 16 June to pledge their support and help develop ambitions around community-based emotional wellbeing and mental health youth interventions for 16-25 year olds.
Representatives for the education, voluntary, community sector, children's social care, local authorities, Integrated Care System, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, as well as young people themselves, attended at the Sussex Youth Mental Health 'call to action' Summit, in Brighton, to find ways to change and help reform mental health and wellbeing services for young people.
The event, co-ordinated by Kent, Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network (KSS AHSN), NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS) in partnership with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) and was co-facilitated by young people from Varndean School in Brighton.
Click here to read more.
At the Sussex Youth Mental Health Summit event discussions among young people and key stakeholders were captured creatively in a three meter long picture. From left to right, the picture illustrates what we are doing at the moment, what gets in the way and what will help, followed by pledges that were made on the day by stakeholders.
The picture illustrates:
- What we are doing at the moment including: coproduction, current research such as the Community-based Mental Health Intervention for Young People within Deprived Social Communities (CATALYST) project; support for vulnerable groups; one to one sessions and digital support.
- Examples of what gets in the way: access capacity, engagement, funding, miscommunication and anxiety.
- And, things that will help include trust, for example: communication, breaking down stigma, coproduction and partnerships.
A number of commitments and pledges were made by all the stakeholders and young people, some examples include: investigate schools joining together to share best practice, propose the introduction of youth work roles, make parents aware of our services and enable young people to use them.
To view the image in a larger format please click here.
Co-designing and testing an Asset-based TAsk-sharing modeL for Youth mental health Services in deprived communiTies.
CATALYST is a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) funded research project aimed at improving Youth Mental Health (YMH) services alongside young people in vulnerable communities.
This project is seeking to co-design community-based mental health strategies and interventions WITH and FOR young people, their parents/carers, healthcare workers, and local communities.
Click here to view summary slides.
Click here for more information on this project.
Youth Transitions Audit
The Sussex Transitions Audit was led by Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust and supported by ARC KSS Starting Well theme. The aim of the research was to audit transitions from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to Adult Mental Health Services (AMHS) during 2018-2019.
Click here to view the report.
Surrey Children and Young People Roadshow
Case Study: The Art of the possible, How innovation can improve health and care for children and young people in Surrey
School Mental Health
Whole School Approach
Whole School Approach Best Practice Review: Evaluation
A review and evaluation of the work undertaken by Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) supporting schools to deliver whole school approaches to emotional wellbeing and mental health across east and south east England has generated interest nationally and locally. The research, launched today (7 December), was undertaken by academics from the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, in participation with the Charlie Waller Trust.
For more information please click here.
The Best Practice Review of Whole School Approach (WSA) within MHSTs in the South-East and East of England: Executive summary
Best Practice Review of Whole School Approach within MHSTs in the South-East and East of England: Evaluation Report
Best Practice Review of the Whole School Approach (WSA) within MHSTs in the South-East and East of England: Summary of Evaluation.
Whole School Approach Pupil session plan - KS2
Whole School Approach Pupil session plan - KS3
Best Practice Review of Whole School Approach in MHSTs – Literature Review Final Report
Best Practice Review of Whole School Approach in MHSTs – Literature Search Summaries
Case Sudy: A 'Whole School Approach' to mental health
For more information on this report click here.
To view the recording of the Best Practice Review of Whole School Approach to Mental Health Support Teams Webinar click here.
How can you best support the implementation of the WSA to Mental Health within your role? Click here to view the responses.
Whole School Approach Best Practice Review: Next Steps & Measuring Impact
More than 100 stakeholders from mental health support teams (MHSTs), from across the east and south east of England, came together in September to discuss their approaches to delivering the whole school approach within mental health support in schools and how this impact can be measured.
Led by Kent Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS), in collaboration with the Department for Education (DfE), the Whole School Approach Best Practice Review of Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) - Next Steps & Measuring Success event was an opportunity for mental health support staff to discuss their team’s approach.
To read the full news story please click here.
To download an event summary and presentations please click here.
To view break out rooms discussion notes please click here.
To view a video of the event please click here.
Children and Young People's Mental Health, Neurodevelopment, Neurodiversity and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Community of Research Practice
In September, the Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS) held an in-person, community of practice event on Children and Young People's Mental Health, Neurodevelopment, Neurodiversity and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), at the University of Sussex.
Chaired by Becca Randell, Implementation Manager for the Starting Well, ARC KSS, and Dr Ian Male, Director of Research at Sussex Community Foundation Trust, the event brought together more than 40 delegates from different academic institutions, voluntary and community organisations, as well as NHS England, to learn about research projects in the region, share best practice and identify research gaps.
To read more about the event click here.
For a summary of the event and resources click here.
To read our public contributor's thoughts on the event click here.
The Together Project is a set of co-produced resources to support good maternity care for people with learning disabilities funded by Health Education England (HEE) and the Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS).
A research team at the University of Surrey conducted interviews with key stakeholders (health and social care professionals, parents with learning disabilities and their informal supporters/carers) to understand views of best practice and to inform resource development. Working together, they co-produced two resources:
- The Together Toolkit for professionals working in maternity services, to support the delivery of good care for people with learning disabilities during their pregnancy.
- A Maternity Passport to be held by people with learning disabilities who are pregnant and to include the relevant information needed by the professionals who support them.
For further information on the Together Project please click here.
Seldom Heard Young People and Communities
Migrant Mental Health
Dr. Leanne Bogen-Johnston, Post Doc within ARC KSS Starting Well Theme and Sarah Newman, a student from the University of Sussex, have undertaken a mapping exercise of emotional wellbeing and mental health services for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) across Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The report provides a high-level overview of key demographics and highlights the support services available in Surrey, Kent and Medway, Brighton and Hove, West and East Sussex. This report should be used to help support and inform implementation and future research.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Mapping Report 2022
Migrant Mental Health Community of Experience Summary
Beyond Lockdown – Impact Of COVID-19 On Care Leavers
Many young people can leave the care system feeling unprepared, financially insecure, in poor mental health and without the support networks most of us take for granted. This can mean care leavers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and lockdown.
To further our understanding about the impact of COVID-19 on care leavers’ wellbeing, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS) commissioned research into the impact of COVID-19 on the daily life and wellbeing of care leavers, focusing on what support they need as lockdown ends. The Beyond Lockdown research team, which included a partnership between University of Sussex and Creative Research Collective, undertook the research from June until December 2020.
Click here for resources and more information.
Case Study: Post-lockdown support matters for care leavers and their mental wellbeing
DisCOVery - Exploring the mental health impact of Covid-19 for young people in high risk and hard to reach groups
Funded by ARC Kent, Surrey and Sussex, led by University of Sussex. the DisCOVery study explored the social and psychological effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable young people from deprived rural and coastal communities.
Between January 2021 to January 2022, data was collected via one-to-one interviews and an online survey. The aim of the research was to provide an evidence base upon which to develop and evaluate psychosocial interventions for young people and wider communities within Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Norfolk.
Click here to view the disCOVery presentation.
Digital Mental Health
Zoom or Room - Online v in-person therapy?
A team of researchers at the University of Sussex have launched a set of guidelines to help practitioners provide better support to parents and children accessing mental health services online.
The Guidelines for Using Online Therapeutic Intervention follows a research project, “Zoom or Room” - Online v in-person therapy? Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration, Kent Surrey and Sussex and supported by Kent Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network that took place last year and looked at the effectiveness and guidance for in-person versus online intervention session.
For more information please click here.
Download a copy of the guidelines here.
Video: Online intervention guidance for employers
Leaflet: Online intervention guidance for employers
Video: Online intervention guidance for practitioners
Leaflet: Online intervention guidance for practitioners
Video: Online intervention guidance for clients
Leaflet: Online intervention guidance for clients
Video: Online intervention guidance for groups
Leaflet: Online intervention guidance for groups
Further information University of Sussex's Interactions: Zoom or Room project
Pan-Sussex Children and Young People’s Mental Health Digital Review
The report, the Pan-Sussex Children and Young People’s Mental Health Digital Review, is based on the experiences and perceptions of young people who shared their views in a survey and took part in a number of events over the summer. The survey aimed to identify gaps in digital provision of Children and Young Peoples’ (CYP) mental health and emotional wellbeing services (age up to 25) in Sussex and to find out from young people how services could be improved.
Key findings include:
• 85% said online mental health support was useful
• 66% of young people accessed online support for the first time during the pandemic
• 60% of young people said they would like a mixture of face-to-face and online support in the future
• 27% were referred to online services by their GP
• 19% had existing therapy moved online due to the pandemic.
The report also calls for a Sussex-wide CYP Mental Health Digital Strategy which should include principles for developing digital solutions, implementing digital working and digital ambitions co-produced by young people. It recommends that the strategy should be embedded within the emerging Sussex-wide CYP Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy and aligned to Sussex Health and Care Partnership’s digital ambition.
To find out more click here.
To read the full report, download it here.
Click here to view a summary of the research.
Building on the recommendations made in the 2021 CYP Digital Mental Health Review, e-wellbeing (YMCA DownsLink Group), Kent Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Service Network and Unity Insights, supported by Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS) have developed a new Digital Mental Health Communications Training Programme. The course provides an overview of digital communications channels, how to engage children and young people via digital channels, and diversity and inclusion best practice associated with digital communications.
Funded by Health Education England, this training was attended by the Sussex children and young people’s workforce and delivered by e-wellbeing staff and Youth Ambassadors; young people aged 16-25 who are passionate about youth mental health and wellbeing.
Download the following resources:
- Case Study: Digital Support To Improve Children And Young People’s Mental Health And Wellbeing
- Pan-Sussex Digital Mental Health Communications Training Programme Toolkit
- Participants’ Feedback on CYP Digital Training Programme
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Resources
- In-Depth Evaluation of CYP Digital Training Programme