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CASCADE is coordinated by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Evidence Based Practice Unit. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Collaboration to improve child mental health

A University of Exeter Medical School Professor is involved in a project to bring together specialists to find solutions to improve mental health services for school children across the country.

Professor Tamsin Ford, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, is the lead facilitator for the South West in the Mental Health Services and Schools Link Pilot.

The project, called CASCADE, is coordinated by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Evidence Based Practice Unit. Professor Ford led a successful initial training day for educational and mental health practitioners from Somerset in December. A follow up to check the progress has been planned for March.

Professor Ford said: “The success of the first round of training days was due in part to the willingness of those involved. I look forward to seeing the progress made in March – where we have the chance to build on the launch.”

This new service has come due to the £3m mental health investment from the Department of Education. It has launched with 22 pilot areas in an attempt to improve mental health services for children in 255 schools.

Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, said: “I’m delighted to see the schools engaging in joined-up approaches with mental health services to ensure that children, parents and teachers know where to turn and how to access the best support for young people with mental health conditions.”

Funded jointly by the Department of Education and NHS England, each of 27 commissioning groups are working with at least 10 schools to trial this new way of working with a named lead across services.

Date: 18 January 2016

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