Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board: newsletter

Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board (JDB) newsletter (sixth edition) September 2023.

Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board - JDB Newsletter

JDB Overview

Want to refresh your memory on the work of the Board? Hear about the Board and the deliverables it worked on from the young people involved here. You can also find out more about the work of the Board on our web page.

What's in this issue?

Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board - update

Spotlight on:

Children and young people's voices at the centre

Community supports and services

Children and young people in vulnerable situations and in need of care and protection

Neurodevelopmental Tests of Change

Education and training for the workforce

Other news:

Suicide prevention

The National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group: Youth Advisory Panel

Self-Harm Strategy

Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Helpline and websites

Next Steps

Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board - update

The Joint Delivery Board met for the final time in February 2023 and the work of the Board came to an end in March 2023.

Its work has been ambitious, and recognised that prevention and early intervention from an early age is crucial, as well as the importance of the right support at the right time.

Over the lifetime of the Board there has been progress across various areas supporting children and young people's mental health, ranging from new and enhanced community-based supports and services for emotional wellbeing and tackling distress available in every local authority, which continues to develop; to the early learning from our Tests of Change in implementing the Neurodevelopmental Service Specification, recognising the potential impact this may have on mental health provision. Recent CAMHS statistics show both an increase in CAMHS staff numbers and progress in addressing long waiting lists.

The final JDB report, which highlights the work of the Board, progress made and its recommendations for the future, can be found on the Joint Delivery board webpage.

COSLA and Scottish Government have sought to jointly improve children and young people's mental health and wellbeing policy and delivery for a number of years, most recently through the Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board (JDB). Following the conclusion of the JDB, as well as the associated Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board, and recognising the ongoing need to support infants, children, young people and families with their mental health and wellbeing; COSLA and Scottish Government have agreed to progress this work through a new combined Strategic Board.

This Board will have a strategic overview of mental health work spanning preconception, the perinatal period, parent-infant relationships, early years (up to 5), children and young people (5-24 year olds or 26 years for care leavers), their families and carers - with a particular focus on the most vulnerable groups. Work is underway to set up the new Joint Strategic Board together, with an anticipated commencement later in the year.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

The Scottish Government and COSLA jointly published a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy on the 29 June 2023. The new strategy allows us to look ahead to make sure we are doing the right things to meet changing Mental Health needs over the coming years, and sets out a clear vision for future population mental health, wellbeing and care; and our priorities to help us get there.

The scope of the strategy is wider than the previous work in this space, with an increasing focus on wellbeing and prevention. It also considers how the strategy can take account of social factors and inequalities that may impact a person's mental health and wellbeing.

The Strategy will be supported by an accompanying Delivery Plan, and Workforce Action Plan which will take into account learning from the JDB. These are now scheduled for publication in Autumn 2023.

This will allow us more time to develop and refine actions in the Plans with partners and stakeholders, ensuring the final plans are ambitious, deliverable and affordable. We will also publish all supporting documents, including our evidence reports, in the Autumn too. We will be reaching out to stakeholders to inform this work in due course.

Keeping Children and Young People's Voices at the Centre

Detail on engagement undertaken with children and young people can be found within the JDB final report; the engagement informed both the Board's work and final recommendations.

Our Board member, Abbie Wright MSYP, recently met with Hugh McAloon, Scottish Government Director of Mental Health, and Nicola Dickie, COSLA Director of People Policy, to discuss the work of the Joint Delivery Board as well as reflecting on youth engagement in Board processes.

The Joint Delivery Board was committed to listening and acting on the views of children and young people. This was achieved through the involvement of children and young people representatives within the Board structure and conducting a range of engagement activities with the support of partners. These activities aligned to our Principles of Participation and Engagement.

Community Supports and Services

A Task and Finish Group, supporting the JDB, helped progress work to provide new and enhanced, community-based mental health and wellbeing supports and services for children and young people across Scotland. This work was supported in a number of ways, including the production of a 'good and emerging practice' document for local leads, providing advice ahead of the Scottish Youth Parliament's independent evaluation of services, and reviewing the implementation of the supporting framework.

These services are now operate in every local authority area. They are developed according to local need and supports available include mentoring services, art-based therapies, digital services, whole-family supports, counselling services and supports involving sport or physical activity.

Information is provided on these services on a 6-monthly basis and this continues to be encouraging. In the second half of 2022, these services were accessed by more than 45,000 people. You can view the latest reports here.

Further information about the community services is available at

Videos of these interviews, produced with the support of Young Scot are available, a short version can be found here and a longer version here.

Spotlight on: children and young people in vulnerable situations and in need of care and protection

It is important to ensure that care experienced children and young people, and children and young people in vulnerable situations, have access to the right mental health support at the right time, as they are more likely to experience mental health issues; children and young people in care are four times more likely to experience a mental health problem than those raised with birth parents. The Joint Delivery Board's Task and Finish Group 3 was made up of a wide range of stakeholders with expertise in this area of work and focused on how we can improve pathways to mental health and wellbeing support for these children and young people. The group has also worked to align improvements with keeping the Promise.

Task and Finish Group 3 spent time trying to understand the barriers and strengths for children and young people in vulnerable situations in accessing mental health support. This involved engagement with Who Cares? Scotland members to listen to those who have experienced being in care. The group has developed a resource which includes 17 principles to guide those responsible for the development of mental health and wellbeing pathways and services for children and young people. The principles stress the importance of empowering loving, caring relationships in a child or young person's life, and outlines the organisational priorities which support this. To show how these principles can be realised, the resource links to practice examples and approaches to service delivery or workforce development that are already making a difference across Scotland. The resource also contains insights from professionals and children and young people on what creates strong relationships and highly impactful mental health pathways.

What the group heard echoed the findings of the National Suicide Prevention working group; time, space and compassion are what children and young people, and professionals, need. For professionals this involves having the chance to engage in reflective practice, to meaningfully communicate as a team around a child and to plan support that meets the needs of individuals. It involves opportunities for peer support and nurturing practitioner wellbeing. The group heard how implementation science - the study of putting policy and evidence-based interventions into practice in real world settings - is helping organisations to create systems changes. With these kinds of systems changes, people across the workforce reported to us that they feel better equipped to meet children and young people's needs. The resource also highlights how having physical, safe spaces, which young people have ownership of, is helping to create non-stigmatising pathways to support.

The resource is being circulated for wider consultation and will be published in line with the start of the next Joint Strategic Board; we will also work with partners to find suitable spaces to host and promote it. Among the aims of the next Board will be the production of an animated digital resource that is co-designed with care experienced children and young people; it is hoped that this will help practitioners with developing skills for providing safe, empowering and relational support.

Neurodevelopmental Tests of Change

As part of the Board's work Neurodevelopmental Tests of Change were conducted to better understand how the neurodevelopmental service specification can be implemented. These began in five local areas and are ongoing. Learning from the Tests of Change has been gathered through reports and sharing events and has identified key themes on the challenges areas have faced when implementing various aspects of the Neurodevelopmental Specification. These challenges are largely around multi-agency working, the role of education, workforce capacity, funding and data and systems. This learning is being used to help support understanding of where further development and support is required to support the Tests of Change sites but also how the learning can help other local areas progress with implementation of the neurodevelopmental specification.

Spotlight on: education and training for the workforce

In the October newsletter, two pilots of the One Good Adult Job Description (OGAJD) were announced in North Ayrshire and Aberdeen City. Both pilots are well progressed and were presented at the final JDB meeting on 14th March 2023.Both areas developed their ideas on how this resource could be used across various settings in conjunction with children and young people and with support from NHS Education Scotland (NES). Examples include the development of a Reflective Tool for probationer teachers, using the Job Description as part of recruitment processes and to inform the Promise Teams locally as well as sharing the concepts with corporate parents, and including a specific question about OGAJD in this year's Health and Wellbeing Census. We intend to draw together all materials from both pilots and present these at a Sharing Practice Event in Autumn 2023.

Thereafter, the implementation materials will be available for national use on the Digital Learning Map that maps high-quality training resources to the Knowledge and Skills Framework and allows staff to plan their learning journeys and leaders to plan learning and development for staff groups.

Additional resources produced by the JDB the workforce include:

  • a first point of contact/signposting resource which considers the education and training needs of whomever first comes in contact with a young person with a mental health issue, how they respond and support that person to get effective help.
  • an Evaluation Toolkit to help organisations to evaluate the quality of training at all practice levels.
  • a Promise Sway Resource aimed at organisations and individuals who have an interest in mental health education and training resources and materials that are relevant to the work of the Promise. The resource pulls together education, training and good practice relevant to the workforce supporting care experienced children, young people and adults.

All resources are hosted on the Digital Learning Map and will continue to be supported by NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

In Other News…

Suicide Prevention

Work is well underway to implement the new suicide prevention strategy, Creating Hope Together.

We are delighted to announce that Haylis Smith has been appointed National Delivery Lead for suicide prevention. This is a key leadership role in delivering the Creating Hope Together (10 year) strategy, and will work on behalf of Scottish Government and COSLA to lead implementation of the Creating Hope Together action plan. We will shortly announce the organisations who have been appointed as Strategic Outcome Leads for the Strategy and will also announce the membership of our new National Suicide Prevention Advisory Group (which replaces our previous National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group), and the Delivery Collective. This new partnership will drive forward our ambitious new strategy action plan, concentrating on a set of priorities for the current year, which will also be announced shortly. The needs of children and young people will continue to be fully integrated in this work. We look forward in particular to working closely with our Youth Advisory Group as we work together to deliver real and impactful suicide prevention work, across our communities.

The core principles of the Time Space Compassion approach has been embedded in Creating Hope Together.

March also saw the launch of the Introductory Guide to Time Space Compassion - supporting people experiencing suicidal crisis and a collection of practice stories, designed to explain what this approach means in practice. To mark the launch, one hundred people working to shape suicide prevention gathered in Edinburgh to share expertise, experience, evidence and practice around what it means to offer people time, the right spaces, and a compassionate response during times of crisis. The event included participation and engagement from members of the Youth Advisory Group, along with trusted organisations that provide support to children, young people and their families.

The National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group: Youth Advisory Panel

The National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (which has now been replaced with a new National Suicide Prevention Advisory Group) helped to create a Youth Advisory Group. This is now up and running and is in the process of recruiting new members. This group is being established to ensure young people's views are heard directly by decision-makers, to inform and improve policy on suicide prevention. More information is available on the webpage.

The group is aimed at young people (16-25 year olds), who have direct experience of suicide or who suffer from poor mental health. Where a young person has experienced the loss of someone close through suicide, two years must have passed before they can be involved. Due to the nature of the group, we will require all members to be referred by a worker or adult in their life and for this person to be available to provide support before and after meetings.

If anyone would like more information on the group, or to find out about our info sessions being held in partnership with current members of the group, then please get in touch with Chris Ross from Children in Scotland at

Self-Harm Strategy

The Scottish Government and COSLA have committed to develop a new self-harm strategy that will be separate from, but linked to, our suicide prevention strategy. Self-Harm is complex and many aspects are hidden and not well understood. We recognise that while self-harm occurs within all groups, there are groups with increased prevalence including children and young people. We have and continue to gather the views of data and evidence experts and are listening to people with lived experience of self-harm and organisations that support them. These groups have fed in at every stage of the work and have helped shape our thinking. We are working with them to ensure that the needs of children and young people will be addressed in the strategy and action plan.

We have also been informed by insights from services that already provide compassionate support to people who self-harm. We have provided funding to Penumbra to pilot new self-harm services, which include a service for over-12s in Dundee. Penumbra has also launched a website where anyone in Scotland aged 12+ can access support online. The website also hosts resources for those that care about the individual such as parents and carers. You can find more information on this at

We have recently begun a programme of further engagement with individuals, groups and organisations, including children and young people, to gather their views on our draft strategy and action plan which will continue over the summer and will publish the strategy in Autumn 2023. If you would like to get involved in helping us shape this work, we would love to hear from you. Please contact

Helpline and Websites

If you or someone you know could benefit from contacting a mental health helpline or information online please find details below:

Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email

Samaritans are there to listen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it's always free to call from any landline or mobile phone.

Call 111 to talk to NHS 24's Mental Health Hub

Call 0800 83 85 87 to talk to Breathing Space.

The service is open 24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday- 6am Monday) and 6pm to 2am on weekdays (Monday-Thursday).

Young Scot's 'Aye Feel' is an online hub, which delivers a range of positive messages, advice and resources to young people regarding health and mental wellbeing. This includes a range of resources, stories, blog posts and targeted social media content on body image and social media usage.

'Mind Yer Time', which was designed by children and young people from the Children's Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament, is an online hub specifically designed to give children and young people advice on social media use, screen time, sleep and the impacts of these things on body image and mental wellbeing.

For parents/carers

Children 1st Parentline - Do you feel like you're at the end of your tether? Children 1st Parentline is here for you and your family. If you live in Scotland call 08000 28 22 33 free, browse our website for advice and support, or start a webchat.

Parent Club provides advice and guidance for parents of children of all ages from pregnancy to the teenage years. This online resource is for parents to support their child's emotional wellbeing and mental health as well as support for new parents around their own mental health. There is also a Family Support Directory for parents which provides helpful information and links to other organisations on a variety of topics important for families.


Children and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board: Glossary


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Tell us what you think

The Joint Delivery Board aims to communicate the progress being made across the groups tasked with the work. We would like to hear your views on the newsletter and how this approach could be improved in the future, please email with any feedback.



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