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Trust pilots new interactive resource to improve young people's care

Young people who are receiving help for mental health problems will soon be able to use a new online platform to explore their feelings, set goals and measure their progress as part of a pilot designed to further improve care.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust will trial the interactive resource, called CAMHSweb, with school age children in west Norfolk as part of a Department of Health-funded project.

The platform includes a number of creative online tools to help young people and their therapist explore their strengths, feelings and relationships and work on personal goals. It has been designed to empower service users to take ownership of their recovery as well as giving them the chance to give honest feedback so that the Trust can ensure the support they receive meets their needs.

The programme has already been piloted elsewhere in the country, with the Trust joining the trial in its final year.

Dr Jessica Austin, Lead Clinical Psychologist with the West Norfolk Family and Young Person's Service, said: "This exciting project will make a huge difference to the recovery of many young people across west Norfolk, and we are delighted to be taking part in the pilot.

"CAMHSweb is a fantastic tool which helps young people feel more in control of their mental health care. It gives them the chance to personalise their treatment and express their thoughts in a variety of different ways. For example, they can doodle their goals and create avatars of the people in their lives, then, using one of the tools they can place them on a target showing how close and how supportive they are to the individual's recovery.

"It is a very graphical and creative way of helping young people to express their feelings while also measuring their progress over time."

The programme will be used to support face to face work carried out during appointments. Service users will also be given the opportunity to log-in between sessions, with permissions as to which areas of the platform they can access set by Trust staff to make sure they use the programme safely and effectively.

"By giving the young person the chance to access the programme at home, it gives us a much better picture of the way their mood changes between appointments," added Dr Austin, who has supported project lead, Dr Chris James, to introduce the programme. "This provides us with a really useful way of monitoring, recording and reviewing their progress.

"The programme is very flexible and can help with any mental health problem, but is particularly useful with young people on the autistic spectrum as these service users can find talking difficult.

"It also places a greater emphasis on informed choice and making sure all decisions about the individual's treatment are taken together, which really does place the young person right at the heart of the care they receive."