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Children and Young People: Mental Health

Emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people

The emotional health and wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health and wellbeing. Over the past few years there has been a growing recognition of the need to make dramatic improvements to mental health services for children and young people.

Mental health problems cause distress to individuals and all those who care for them. One in ten children needs support or treatment for mental health problems. These range from short spells of depression or anxiety through to severe and persistent conditions that can isolate, disrupt and frighten those who experience them. 

Read the 'Mental Health of children in England' report. 

Current Local Transformation Plan under annual review and will be published in Spring 2020. Underpinning evidence base being reviewed and the pages below will be updated shortly.

What is known ...

So what we have ...

Mental health problems in young people can result in lower educational attainment (for example, children with conduct disorder are twice as likely as other children to leave school with no qualifications) and are strongly associated with behaviours that pose a risk to their health, such as smoking, drug and alcohol abuse and risky sexual behaviour.

A report by Public Health England (December 2016) describes the importance of mental health in Children and Young People. The economic case for investment is strong.

  • 75% of mental health problems in adult life (excluding dementia) start by the age of 18.

  • Failure to support children and young people with mental health needs costs lives and money.

  • Early intervention avoids young people falling into crisis and avoids expensive and longer term interventions in adulthood.

The Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce was established in September 2014 to consider ways to make it easier for children, young people, parents and carers to access help and support when needed and to improve how children and young people’s mental health services are organised, commissioned and provided. The Department of Health and NHS England response, Promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, highlighted the key themes:

  • Promoting resilience, prevention and early intervention

  • Improving access to effective support – a system without tiers

  • Care for the most vulnerable

  • Accountability and transparency

  • Developing the workforce

The Taskforce firmly believed that the best mental health care and support must involve children, young people and those who care for them in making choices about what they regard as key priorities, so that evidence-based treatments are provided that meet their goals and address their priorities.

The government is further reviewing how to develop the support to children and young people for their emotional health and wellbeing and published a Green Paper for consultation in late 2017.  This proposes a greater role for schools and colleges, something that Wirral is already developing.

Delivering the national ambition has required local leadership and ownership.

Therefore the development and agreement of Transformation Plans for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing which have clearly articulated our local offer.

These Plans cover the whole spectrum of services for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing from health promotion and prevention work, to support and interventions for children and young people who have existing or emerging mental health problems, as well as transitions between services.

Local Transformation Plans are also known as Future in Mind plans and are considered in the following section.

Wirral Future in Mind plans

Current Local Transformation Plan under annual review and will be published in Spring 2020. Underpinning evidence base being reviewed and the pages below will be updated shortly.

The Future in Mind plan for Wirral was originally submitted to NHS England in October 2015, and published in January 2016. 

This 2018 - 2019/20 refreshed Future in Mind Local Transformation Plan sets out how commissioning organisations and its partners will transform local services to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families, meeting the aspirations set out by the Government in their national strategy for children and young people’s mental health: Future in Mind, the Healthy Wirral Plan and the Vision 2020.

It is a high level plan that sets out how we will work with our stakeholders to bring about change on the way to 2020/21.

Since the publication of the first plan there has been significant investment and progress made on the journey to transform services for children and young people’s mental health, to achieve the national Future in Mind ambitions. 

Forward Thinking: Children and Young People Mental Health and Wellbeing Transformation Plan 2018 - 2019/20

This Transformation Plan for Wirral provides that holistic vision for the provision of support and care for children and young people. 

Early Help Resource and Information Pack

The  CAMHS and Early Help Resource-and-Information-Pack  details the Early Help services available to children, young people and their families. The offer includes courses and activities which can be accessed through provision including Children’s Centres, Play Centres and Youth Hubs, and details the help and support available through services including the Youth Support Service, the Response Service, the Family Intervention Services, Restorative Practice and other early help provision.

The  Resource and Information pack can be accessed here

Other directories you might find useful:
Safe Lives website:


A key aspect of the guidance is the provision of a local offer

What is a 'Local Offer'?
A Local Offer gives children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities and their families information about what support services the local authority think will be available in their local area. Every local authority is responsible for writing a Local Offer and making sure it is available for everyone to see.

Who decides what is in the Local Offer?
The new law says that every local authority must talk with children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities and their families to find out what sort of support and services they need.

What is Wirral's Local Offer?
Our Local Offer provides information on what services children, young people and their families can expect from a range of local agencies, including education, health and social care as well as information about other local, support services.

Knowing what is out there gives you more choice and therefore more control over what support is right for your child. Wirral's  Local Offer sets out what is available for your child in our area if they have special educational needs and or a disability.

More information on Wirral's Local Offer.

Evidence Base to support Local Plans

Wirral’s local approach in response to the national direction and local need is set out in Forward Thinking: Children and Young People Mental Health and Wellbeing Transformation Plan 2018 - 2019/20

The development of the local evidence base to inform service provision and commissioning has been led by Future in Mind Steering Group members and Wirral Intelligence Service. This evidence base that underpins this work is outlined below.

Performance and outcomes for local Future in Mind delivery

Below are those key indicators within the Public Health Outcomes Framework that provide and overview of how Wirral is performing on the measures that matter and in comparison to other areas 

Further Information, Insight and Assessment of Need 

We continue to work across partners and within organisations to best understand our local children and young people population and that in turn will support our current service provision and future commissioning of services. Some information we have gathered is below:

Provides an overview of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Wirral.

View here

Using the THRIVE model as a starting point, Wirral sees very close links between the provision of mental health services and local authority services, such as the “coping” element of THRIVE being supported by both the CAMHS Primary Mental Health Workers and the “Self Help” and universal support provided by the local authority.


Wirral specific information from Public Health England Profiles 

Time to Deliver,  Education Policy Institute’s Independent Commission on Children and Young People’s Mental Health

The report represents the culmination of the Commission’s work in 2015/2016, reflecting on the progress made in transforming services following the government’s investment of £1.4bn.

Based on its comprehensive research it proposed a series of recommendations.

Access the 'Children and Young People's Mental Health' report. 

Summer 2019 saw more Wirral young people engage with the National Citizen Service (NCS) and spend their time learning about themselves, developing new skills and exploring topics close to their heart.

This short video provides us with one groups work to understand more about mental health, its impacts, its causes and how we can learn to deal with its consequences. Look out for contributions from Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Geoffrey Watt, Ex-Liverpool and England footballer John Barnes and Jodie Taylor, former Tranmere Rovers now of Seattle Reign F.C. and England...and of course the NCS participants of Wave 3 Team 2 

If you would like to know more about NCS please contact the team at