London NHS trusts reveal new platform and tools to support young people’s mental health

Three NHS trusts in London, and the charity CW+, have partnered to launch a ‘new patient-centred model of care’ for young people who require urgent mental health support.

Created by Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and West London NHS Trust, in addition to CW+, the new service is called ‘Best For You’, and includes an online platform, as well as digital tools and apps.

A number of other local and national partners were also involved in the project, which sees specialist medical and mental health care combined with community services and a digital package.

Each stage of the care model was co-developed with children and their families and, overall, it aims to provide ‘comprehensive, rapid and long-term care in a way that best meets the needs of the individual and their family’.

“Best For You is an innovative model of care that is easier and faster to access, offers joined-up and comprehensive care and I believe sets a new standard for children and younger people’s mental health in our area,” explained Lesley Watts, Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Designed for children and adolescents, the first phase of the service includes the launch of the dedicated website, which has been fast-tracked to offer a ‘much-needed and widely accessible online port of call’ for people.

The bright and colourful new site features ‘clinically-assessed and age-appropriate digital aids’,  including a library of ORCHA accredited apps, and a free and confidential 24/7 text support service. Video content, which shares interviews, experiences, tips and advice on wellbeing, is also available, with users able to filter the offering based on condition type.

Outside of the digital aspects, the new programme will also introduce daytime services, which will allow people to access immediate mental health support without needing an appointment, and community services, which will aim to bridge the gap of support between clinical and community settings. In these settings, the digital tools can be ‘prescribed’ to young people and their families.

In addition, a Young People’s Rapid Assessment Unit, staffed by a multidisciplinary team, will integrate medical and mental health care to enable quicker assessments, transfers and treatment.

Imperial College and North West London NIHR Applied Research Collaboration are also working on the project to ‘measure the programme’s effectiveness’ and ‘create a template model for distribution across the NHS’.

Claire Murdoch, Chief Executive of the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, said of the launch: “We are determined to improve mental health care for our children and young people. The NHS can’t do this alone. We have to do this in collaboration with young people and their families, and with our partners in the charitable and private sector. Together, we can transform the way we treat the increasing numbers of young people requiring urgent mental health support.”

Carolyn Regan, Chief Executive of West London NHS Trust, added: “By working with young people and their families and by bringing together NHS experts and our local and national partners, we hope we can continue to urgently transform how care is delivered to help more young people in crisis.”

To find out more about Best For You, visit the new site.