Expanding Minds, Improving Lives was a project which brought together the CCG, Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council to transform the way the mental health needs of children and young people are met.
The project saw the CCG and the two councils working together with our local communities to plan what needs to happen locally to transform emotional wellbeing and mental health provision for children and young people and their families.
This was based on a nationwide recognition that the emotional wellbeing and mental health needs of children and young people and their families were not being met.
The impact of not meeting mental health needs can be significant for the child or young person, as well as their family and our communities.
Mental health problems in children may result in lower educational attainment, impact on the family and sometimes result in offending and antisocial behaviour.
The negative consequences of not acting early or offering the right support at the right time can also place preventable costs and demands on health, social care services, schools and the youth justice system.
We recognised that there was a fragmented system for supporting children and families and a need to focus on a more integrated, early response service.
The aim of Expanding Minds, Improving Lives was to develop a new way of working that ensures the right services are available at the right time – and that emotional wellbeing and mental health is everybody’s business across universal, targeted and specialist provision.
We have learned a lot from this exercise and adapted our vision, principles and plan to reflect this learning. Our vision now reflects a more collective approach to supporting our children and young people:
“We will improve the emotional health and wellbeing of children, young people and families, who will thrive through access to the right support at the right time in the right place.”
How we developed our vision
- We agreed to focus on children and young people aged 0-25 and their families
- We agreed to work together with our communities to design an effective whole system model of support that values the strengths within families
- We agreed to ensure everyone understands their own roles and responsibilities for creating and sustaining emotional wellbeing
- We agreed to enable our children and young people and their families to be resilient
- We agreed to collaboratively commission services across health, social care and education and where appropriate across geographical areas
The principles we agreed to take forward
- Transforming the way we think: emotional wellbeing is everybody’s business
- Co-production: engaging, listening to and involving our communities in designing their services
- Focusing on evidence and best practice: understanding the needs of our communities and the best practices to meet those needs
- Collaborative commissioning: Newcastle Gateshead CCG, Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council agreed to collectively commission services to deliver key priorities that support the vision
- Prevention and early intervention: shifting our approach to pre-empt or respond quickly to emotional wellbeing concerns instead of treating their consequences
- Best value and efficiency: provision must be high quality, affordable and produce successful outcomes
- Thriving: the emotional state we want our children and young people to attain
The project was accountable to the Children and Young People’s work stream of the Newcastle and Gateshead Mental Health Programme Board.
Engagement with professionals and stakeholders was also important to the project. To help steer the engagement process, we established an advisory group of different professionals and parent and carer representatives.
Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Transformation Plan
Everything we learned through Expanding Minds, Improving Lives has helped us to develop our Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Transformation Plan.
This is our framework to improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health of all children and young people across Newcastle and Gateshead. The aim is to make it easier for children, young people, parents and carers to access help and support when needed and to improve mental health services for children and young people.
Successful implementation of the plan will result in:
- An improvement in the emotional wellbeing and mental health of all children and young people.
- A multi-agency approach to working in partnership, promoting the mental health of all children and young people, providing early intervention and meeting the needs of children and young people with established or complex problems.
- All children, young people and their families will have access to mental health care based upon the best available evidence and provided by staff with an appropriate range of skills and competencies.
- You can download the Children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing transformation plan here.