1. The Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board (JDB), co-chaired by COSLA and Scottish Government, is the most recent national programme of work seeking to support children and young people's mental health. The JDB ran from Spring 2021 to Spring 2023 and focused on eight 'deliverables' in areas including community-based, crisis and neurodevelopmental support, CAMHS, support for children and young people in vulnerable situations, 3-5 year olds, education and training and mental health communications. Work undertaken has been underpinned by Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) and is aligned to the Promise.
2. At the beginning of the process each deliverable was at a different starting point from a policy/delivery perspective and was taken forward according to need and context. This resulted in a range of actions and outputs across the breadth of the Board's remit including:
- Reports on service level implementation/ mapping of services
- Events and resources to capture and share good and emerging practice
- Tests of Change (Neurodevelopmental Services)
- A range of learning and training materials
- A range of research to further understand need
- Engagement with children, young people, and wider stakeholders.
Learning and recommendations from work on each deliverable informed final recommendations made by the JDB.
3. A review of the work of the JDB was undertaken by Public Health Scotland (PHS). This considered the impact the JDB has had on children and young people's mental health to date. Two deliverables, those focused on community-based support and CAMHS, had reached the stage where regular data on impact is collected; this illustrated some positive impact. Where data was not yet collectable, PHS noted the potential for positive impact in the longer term. Opportunities to consider how mental health data is collected and interpreted in the longer term was also highlighted.
4. In considering learning across the breadth of its remit, the Board highlighted:
- A need to retain a focus on prevention and early intervention
- A need to prioritise work to support care experienced children/children and young people in vulnerable situations and providing crisis support
- A need to support policy coherence across the complex mental health policy landscape
- A need to build on connections between mental health supports and services.
5. The final JDB recommendations draw on work undertaken across the breadth of its remit. A summary of the high-level recommendations includes:
- The continuation/establishment of good practice sharing events, networks, and platforms to share learning from the JDB and support ongoing development of good practice
- Further consideration, development, and delivery of a whole-systems approach to mental health provision at a national and local level, ensuring connections between mental health services
- That work taken forward by the governance structure that follows the JDB should be underpinned by a clear set of short, medium and long-term outcomes and a shared understanding of how progression towards mental health goals will be monitored and evaluated
- Ensuring children and young people from all backgrounds are a core partner in improving mental health matters that affect them
- That a shared and accessible language should be used to describe mental health and associated services
- That quality learning resources, and training opportunities considered by the JDB should continue to be developed, disseminated, supported, evaluated and be accessible for the workforce
- That Scottish Government should continue to fund mental health and wellbeing services across the mental health continuum, including prevention and early intervention, in line with agreed commitments that result from the work of the JDB
- The production of targeted communication on mental health and wellbeing to ensure that all stakeholders including children and young people, parents and carers and mental health and mental wellbeing professionals can access the information that they need
- To influence policy development across the wider social determinants of children and young people's mental health to further embed approaches that support mental health and mental wellbeing.
Please refer to Appendix A of the final report for the full recommendations from the Board.
6. Support for children and young people's mental health remains of upmost importance and, whilst the Board draws to a close, it is hoped actions and learning from the JDB will continue to support children and young people and inform next steps across the system. Whilst we recognise what has been achieved, we also recognise the considerable challenge ahead of us. The voices and experiences of children, young people and their families will remain key to improving access to mental health support.
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