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

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

Our Workstreams

In developing the delivery plan we have considered the journeys that children, young people and their families should expect to take through a high performing mental health system. We have compared this to the current system and approach and will focus on the workstreams outlined below.

All workstreams will report to the Taskforce and will develop and take forward detailed work plans. These will support the overall aim and purpose of the Taskforce, and inform its work. All workstreams will have both a rights champion and an equality champion within their membership.

Generic Children & Young People's Mental Health Services

This workstream will focus on how Scotland's mental health framework needs to operate effectively to deliver prevention and early intervention mental health services for young people experiencing emotional distress and related conditions. It will focus on how additional specialist mental health services can be developed and delivered across the country to a high standard.

There are many outstanding examples of this type of support available in different parts of the country. A key area of focus for this workstream is drawing together best practice, and exploring how this can be built upon, replicated and delivered in other parts areas of Scotland in line with local needs.

The workstream will interact with the Specialist and Neurodevelopmental Workstreams to ensure those with clinical mental health conditions and neurodevelopmental conditions are supported to access the appropriate services as easily as possible.

The workstream will:

  • Identify the interventions and responses we need to provide in the community, in primary care, in education and through social work and the third sector to meet the needs of children and young people with mental health problems.
  • Identify where these responses are in place and if necessary how these can be scaled up to a high standard.
  • Identify the gaps in provision and how these could be filled.
  • Advise on the implementation of existing and new commitments in this area.
  • Ensure that additional specialist mental health services for young people are underpinned by the Getting It Right For Every Child approach and advise on any required modifications.

Specialist Children & Young People's Mental Health Services

In order to reduce waiting times and avoid referrals to specialist services being rejected, radical development in children and young people's mental health services is required, and this includes specialist clinical services. It is also vital that specialist services are closely linked to wider children's services to facilitate a seamless link from the perspective of young people and their families.

This workstream will:

  • Consider the current provision of specialist services.
  • Examine the need and demand for specialist services.
  • Pay particular attention to the role of those working within specialist services in supporting and advising those working in wider children's services, including education.

Neurodevelopmental Services

We will take forward a specific workstream covering neurodevelopmental services. Young people with neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism and ADHD may require specific support with a neurodevelopmental focus, though may also benefit from specialist clinical children and young people's mental health services.

This workstream will:

  • Consider the current and developing research progressing our thinking on different neurodevelopmental conditions.
  • Explore current work within all services including education in this area.
  • Link with other workstreams to ensure recommendations relating to the neurodevelopmental workstream facilitate seamless links between specific neurodevelopmental services, mental health services and wider children's services.

Additional Services For Children & Young People At Risk

Some children and young people who are at heightened risk of poor mental health, have not been able to access mental health services. These include: younger children; care experienced children and young people; black and ethnic minority youth; refugee families; those who for various reasons do not have a settled home setting (e.g. children in temporary accommodation or who move home regularly); young people in transition to adult services; and other marginalised groups.

This workstream will:

  • Identify and confirm the children and young people who may not be receiving appropriate responses to their mental health needs.
  • Be underpinned by Getting It Right For Every Child.
  • Take a focussed approach to how the mental health needs of these children and young people can be met, both within existing and enhanced services.
  • Ensure that links are made with other work that is taking place, such as: the Care Review, Drug and Alcohol Strategy, Child Poverty; ACEs awareness; the Expert Review of Mental Health Support for Young Offenders and the Getting It Right for Every Child policy and practice refresh.

In taking forward the four key strands we will consider at all stages how they interact to support a seamless, effective and efficient care and treatment for children and young people and for their families.

Underpinning Workstreams

There are currently three cross cutting workstreams which underpin the four workstreams related to the strands identified in Dame Denise's initial recommendations.


The workforce within services that support children, young people and their families is central to the aspirations laid out by Dame Denise in her recommendations.

The development of a strong interdisciplinary workforce which has the capacity to support children and young people's mental health is vital.

This workstream will:

  • Consider the workforce issues within all sectors involved in supporting children and young people's mental health.
  • Make recommendations on enhancing the capacity within those sectors.
  • Align with ongoing work in this area, for example the Integrated National Workforce Plan for Health and Social Care and ongoing work in terms of the education workforce.

Information & Knowledge

The information & knowledge workstream will attempt to understand the scale and nature of the issue.

This workstream will:

  • Consider the range of data and other information available on Children & Young People's Mental Health, how to enhance this and how it can be used at a local and national level to improve responses and services.
  • Establish and work with a specialist academic group to consider the children and young people's research base.


A robust approach to finance is required in order to ensure adequate resourcing of existing and future approaches and services.

This workstream will:

  • Consider current resourcing and issues relating to finance and funding mechanisms, taking into account the wider context of reducing public sector budgets.

Other cross cutting workstreams may be established as requested by the Taskforce.


Email: Neil Guy

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