Children and Young People's Mental Health Taskforce: delivery plan

The independent taskforce aims to improve mental health services for young people.

Our Guiding Principles

Ultimately the work of the Taskforce will ensure we move towards a flexible and dynamic new approach to children and young people's mental health which responds effectively to the needs of the individual. The following principles will underpin our work to achieve this:

  • The approach should be rights based – Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, there is a right to 'the best possible health' and a key component of this is the provision of good quality health care, and support to overcome and recover from adverse experiences. Children and young people also have the right to 'express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously' and this will be a key consideration of the Taskforce.
  • The approach should have a strong focus on prevention and early intervention – The current system is largely built around treatment. While this must remain a focus, and indeed where necessary be enhanced, we have to move to an approach has a more significant focus on prevention and elements of support for young people and their families before they require, and to minimise the need for clinical treatment.
  • Support for children and young people should be appropriate, prompt and proportionate - This involves ensuring that the mental health of children and young people are identified, assessed and responded to promptly, and that an appropriate and proportionate service is provided without unnecessary delay or bureaucracy.
  • We will build on existing strengths and knowledge – While we are looking to transform the system we will always look to build on existing strengths as the basis for doing so. We will draw on the the evidence base around wellbeing initiatives and mental health related interventions at education, community and specialist level to support and improve the mental health of children and young people.
  • The system should be built upon local delivery delivered to high national standards – Decisions on how and where services are best delivered must be made as close to young people and their families as possible. Within this there must be an expectation that services are high quality and there is access to the support required in all parts of Scotland.
  • The workforce is key – A new system will only be as good as the people who work within it. Capturing the energy and expertise of the children and young people's mental health workforce together with the workforce in services that support children, young people and their families in its very broadest multi-disciplinary sense at all stages will be critically important.
  • Young people and their families should be centrally involved – We have the opportunity to make recommendations on how to transform the approach to children and young people's mental health, including the systems that support them. We cannot do that without the active involvement, and indeed leadership, of young people and their families. They must be at the heart of building this new approach and we will engage widely with them.
  • The digital context in which children and young people live will be a key consideration – The Taskforce will take into account the way in which digital impacts on children and young people's lives and how technology can be used positively to enhance mental health, responses, tools and services they may access.

We will ensure that at all stages and within all Taskforce workstreams these principles are central to our approach. These will ultimately be the tests we will apply throughout the lifespan of the Taskforce.


Email: Neil Guy

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