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New service launch for children with a learning disability in Suffolk

A brand new service has been launched in Suffolk for young people with both learning disabilities and mental health problems.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has launched the service across the county for children and young people up to the age of eighteen. It provides a single point of access to services through the children and adolecsent mental health team. Previously children had to be referred separately to the learning disability service.

Samantha Gillings-Taylor, clinical lead, said: “The aim is to avoid, as far as possible, admission into psychiatric inpatient services and to prevent children and young people being placed out of Suffolk, away from their families and local communities. We want to help the child or young person, their family and/or carer, understand and make sense of why they have been feeling, thinking or behaving differently, and we can offer treatment and intervention to help with this. We also help by looking at how this may be treated early or prevented in the future”.

This goal is achievable now as children and young people can be supported by a clinical team highly specialised in working with children and young people with a learning disability. The team includes a psychiatrist, a psychologist, specialist nurses and administrative support.

The service will enable the child or young person to be referred to either mainstream CAMH services, with specialist support from the learning disability (LD) CAMHS team, or directly to the LD CAMHS team based within CAMHS.

The treatment and interventions available can include person centred, one to one interventions, medication, recovery plans to prevent problems recurring and/or referrals to, and liaison with, other services. This is in addition to training for the individual and their family, carers or other providers.

The service is provided wherever is most convenient for the child or young person, which may be at a clinic, home, hospital, school, college, workplace, place of leisure or other community setting.

The new service has already attracted some positive feedback from patients:

“It’s been most beneficial"

“I always feel better when I speak with you”

“Without you, what would have happened?”