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Take 5 Hub 2021 Report: Service Evaluation of a Community Mental Health Hub for Children and Young People

Parry, Sarah ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5666-1997, Di Basilio, daniela, Stamou, Vasilieous ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8061-8246, Brockway, Alice and Eve, Zarah (2021) Take 5 Hub 2021 Report: Service Evaluation of a Community Mental Health Hub for Children and Young People. Research Report. Department of Health and Social Care.

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Abstract

In 2021, one in ten children require support for mental health challenges. A lack of support for a young person’s mental health can affect educational attainment, and physical and mental health in their future. The case for early intervention in childhood is clear, with up to 75% of adulthood mental health difficulties beginning by 18-years-old and half of adulthood mental health challenges beginning by 14-years-old. However, the recent Future in Mind Report identified that less than 25-35% of young people with a mental health difficulty were engaging with support. Access to help and commissioning inequalities were cited as key barriers. The Take 5 Hub aims to provide improved access to early mental health support with the objective of preventing an escalation of difficulties through evidence-based brief interventions, thus reducing the need for crisis services or specialist statutory services. The Hub has 11 members of staff and supports approximately 600 children and young people (8-18-years-old) to varying degrees of engagement. Over 100 parents/carers are also supported through family support and brief interventions. The Hub adopts an inclusive approach and does not require young people to have a specific diagnosis or meet threshold criteria. Our service evaluation indicates the Hub is benefitting its service users and becoming increasingly embedded in the community, supporting a number of ongoing outreach and collaborative endeavours. The undertakings of the Hub and the lessons they have learnt could inform service design and delivery elsewhere. With their local knowledge and community-centred approach, Hubs can provide an innovative safe space for young people and their families, especially young people who may be less likely to seek help from primary care services. The research team and I have been privileged to conduct this service evaluation, the key themes of which are: The Hub provides a range of support that leads to a reduction in reported psychological distress and improved family function. Waiting times for access to services had also more than halved. As a developing service, the Hub is finding novel ways to become integrated in the community, with further outreach projects in progress to reach ethnic minority groups. Flexible and tailored care for young people and families is being provided through a small cohesive team with anxiety, low mood and anger the most commonly reported challenges. In terms of service audit and evaluation, there are challenges for the Hub in terms of measuring clear ‘problems’ and outcomes, whilst also providing a child-centred, holistic and flexible service. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Hub has had to adapt its delivery, which has naturally led to setbacks in some areas and rapid developments in others. The importance of staff team ownership, cohesion and collegiate support for creative, responsive service adaptations and delivery are discussed.

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