Update on children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health services in Surrey

In 2019, organisations came together in Surrey to publish a ‘call to action’ to improve the emotional resilience and mental health of children and young people in Surrey.

Earlier this year Surrey’s clinical commissioning groups and Surrey County Council worked in collaboration to launch a procurement process to award a new contract for a transformed and high-quality emotional wellbeing and mental health service that is child-focussed, responsive and effective.

The strategy and vision that laid the foundation for this work were developed through engagement with children, young people, parents, carers and practitioners and is supported with an additional financial investment of £6m. This change comes at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is having a profound impact upon the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people, and current services are experiencing ever-increasing demand.

We are pleased to announce that from April 2021, this crucial service will be provided by an innovative Alliance of national and local partners as detailed below, following a procurement process:

  • Barnardo’s
  • Learning Space
  • NAS Services Ltd (for National Autistic Society)
  • Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SABP)
  • Surrey Wellbeing Partnership
  • The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

Surrey and Borders Partnership will hold the contract on behalf of the Alliance partners. These organisations will work in partnership with commissioners to meet the emotional wellbeing and mental needs of children and young people in Surrey, and to continuously develop and improve the service.

The Alliance brings together a breadth of knowledge and experience and will collectively implement the THRIVE framework to create a coordinated system of support for children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental with a clear focus on all partners helping children and young people ‘to thrive’ and ‘to recover’. This marks a new direction for how children and young people are supported and cared for in Surrey.

The THRIVE framework provides support and care at four different levels:

  • getting advice and signposting;
  • getting help;
  • getting more help; and
  • getting risk support.

The service model has four distinct elements:

  • a single point of access specifically for emotional wellbeing and mental needs
  • early intervention services
  • neurodevelopmental assessment service (currently known as ‘Behavioural, Emotional Neurodevelopment Service’.
  • specialist clinical child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)

The model emphasises the importance of early intervention and stronger partnership working, as well as the need for rapid transformation to respond to increased demand and the changing needs of children and young people. It will ensure that children, young people and their families get to the right support quickly and that should a child or young person’s needs change, they do not need to ‘start again’ and re-tell their story to staff in a different organisation.

The new model will bring services closer to schools and colleges to respond quickly to identified need and enable children and young people with emerging mental health needs to make good educational progress.

Hayley Connor, Director of Commissioning for Children, Families and Lifelong Learning at Surrey County Council has said: “Improving mental health and promoting emotional resilience is a top priority for all of us – especially in the light of the pandemic. That’s why I’m pleased to welcome an alliance of existing and new partners, together with significant additional investment, to Surrey at this crucial time.

“Working alongside children, young people and families, we will increasingly focus on prevention and early intervention, whilst continuing to reduce waiting times and improve access to care.”