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Norfolk doctor joins national youth mental health taskforce
20/08/2014

A Norfolk-based psychiatrist is joining a government mental health taskforce aiming to improve services for young people.

Dr Jon Wilson, consultant psychiatrist with the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, is based at the Trust’s youth team at 80 St Stephen’s Road, Norwich.

This groundbreaking team is made up of psychiatrists, psychologists, family therapists, psychotherapists, nurses, an art therapist, and primary mental health workers.

The teams work closely with other specialist teams that support patients from the very earliest stage of their illness to support their recovery.

Unlike most mental health youth services, NSFT services support young people from the age of 14 through to age 25 and not 18.

Dr Wilson said: “I’m delighted to have been invited to join this national taskforce. We have a very good track record in Norwich of working with young people to develop innovative and holistic services. It is so important that we get these services right, before problems become too entrenched and change peoples lives forever.

"If we can deal with mental health problems early on we give young people a much better chance of recovery and living a full life. Achieving that actually saves the economy a great deal of money."

"We have achieved so much locally but it’s clear that more needs to be done to support the mental health needs of young people locally and nationally. The challenge for commissioners, NHS providers and the voluntary sector is doing that in a time of austerity.”
 
Care minister Norman Lamb has set up the task force to look at how to improve the way children's mental health services are organised and commissioned, how to make better use of voluntary and charitable groups and how to make it easier for young people to access help online.

The terms of reference include looking at:

  • More effective commissioning to make sure every area can make the best use of resources and improve mental health services for young people

  • Branding of services so they are accessible to young people and their families

  • Development of digital services and online information

  • "One-stop-shop" type services where young people can get support for a range of issues such as bullying, relationships and exam stress

  • Making sure young people moving from children's services to adult services continue to get the care they need

  • Inviting local areas to demonstrate innovative models of care for children and young people 

  • Involving young people in the work of the Taskforce to make certain their voice is heard

The taskforce will meet for the first time in September 2014 and then, in spring 2015, report recommendations to ministers at the Department of Health, the Department of Education and the Department for Work and Pensions on how to improve services so that every child and young person who is facing the distress of mental illness gets the high quality care they deserve.

The trust has a wealth of information about mental health issues for young people on the www.whatsthedealwith.co.uk website.