Young People at the Heart of Mental Health Reform

Bridging the Gap volunteer team

Young people moving from children to adult mental health services will now have a smoother experience, thanks to a new guide, Transition Care Plan (TCP), created by a team of young volunteers called ‘Bridging The Gap.’

Clinicians, mental health services and young people had advocated passionately for improved transitions between services, which resulted in the Scottish Government committing to this work under Action 21 of the Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027.

In response to this, the Transition Care Plan is a document that helps young people receiving treatment from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in their move to adult mental health services. It gives them the chance to outline their needs, preferences and concerns ahead of the move, so they can work with those who provide their mental health care to plan the process together.

The ‘Bridging The Gap’ team were made up of MSYPs and volunteers, who worked with health care professionals to co-design the TCP. Supported by the Scottish Youth Parliament, it aimed to give young people a stronger voice through Year of Young People.

The TCP puts young people’s voices at the heart of this transition by enabling them to have their say and better communicate vital information to mental health clinicians about their wellbeing, lifestyle, current treatment, and understanding of the transition process. This unique resource will aid young people and clinicians in creating a smoother transition in what can be a difficult process and, as a result, improve the quality of treatment they receive.

Speaking ahead of the launch at Dovecot Studios on Wednesday (29th August), Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey MSP, said: “Young people have told us that a transition between CAMHS and adult mental health services can be a difficult time.

“To help make this transition as seamless as possible, these plans have been co-produced and co-designed entirely by young people and clinicians themselves. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved for a truly ground-breaking piece of work, which is particularly fitting given that 2018 is the Year of Young People. I want this to become consistent practice for all young people transitioning from CAMHS to adult services, and my expectation is that Health Boards across Scotland will use the Transition Care Plans as standard.”

From SYP, Robbie Burgess MSYP said: “Change can be incredibly difficult for anyone – of any age – let alone a young person struggling with their mental health. It’s so important that the transition from CAMHS to adult mental health services is as seamless as possible, and the creation of the TCP will go a long way in enabling that to happen. At SYP, we’ve seen first-hand through our campaign on young people’s mental health, Speak Your Mind, just how serious a problem this is. We’re grateful to both the Scottish Government and clinicians from NHS Scotland for putting young people at the centre of this project. In this, the Year of Young People, it’s important now more than ever that Scotland’s young people are best supported to achieve their full potential.”

Find out more about TCP’s on the Scottish Youth Parliament website.