CAMHS and the Youth Justice Agency (YJA) are working in partnership to review the mental health needs of children and adolescents (under 18) either known to, or potentially at risk of being involved with Youth Justice Services and CAMHS. There is significant research available which indicates a high prevalence of emotional and mental health difficulties within the Youth Justice population. The research also highlights that despite this high level of need; young people known to Youth Justice Agencies face significant barriers to access mental health services.
As set out in the Southern Outcomes Group plan and being driven via the EBD Sub-Group, a pilot is being trialled within the Southern Health and Social Care Trust which aims to better meet the mental health needs of young people known to both services. A Step 3 CAMHS Senior Mental Health Practitioner is co-located between community CAMHS clinics in the Southern Trust and the Youth Justice Agency Banbridge. The Practitioner attends all YJA team meetings and offers consultation and/or training to YJA staff in relation to mental health.
Internal pathways have been developed to reduce barriers to access mental health services for young people open to the YJA. Young people who are open to YJA are now screened for emotional and mental health difficulties using evidenced based tools and internal referrals from YJA to CAMHS can be made for either consultation for staff or direct face to face contacts for the young person.
The co-located Practitioner attends weekly multi-disciplinary team meetings within CAMHS and with consent, any young people known to YJA can be discussed within the CAMHS multi-disciplinary team.
The pilot is still in its infancy, but feedback from young people, families and staff has been very positive to date. Keep up to date on progress via the EBD Regional sub-group webpage http://www.cypsp.hscni.net/regional-subgroups/children-with-emotional-and-behavioural-difficulties