April 13, 2024

Jersey children could self-refer for mental health support

  • By Chris Stone
  • BBC Radio Jersey

Image caption,

At the moment, young people have to be referred by their GP or school

Children suffering mental health problems could refer themselves to a specialist service without having to see their doctor, a commission says.

The Jersey Care Commission (JCC) said in its inspection report that there were still areas needing improvement for children’s mental health services.

At the moment, young people have to be referred by their GP or school.

The JCC said it would be a valuable way to make sure children received the support they needed.

It said: “Facilitating a process for self-referral would be a beneficial approach to motivate individuals to actively seek support from the services.

“It is recommended to establish a system for those individuals that wish to access the service independently.”

The commission has given the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) one year to implement it.

‘Considerable impact’

In the last three years the report found that the department had grown from 17 workers to 70, but the JCC said that it recognised CAMHS had faced criticism in the past because of long waiting times and inconsistent staffing.

Other areas needing improvement included providing written communication for children and young people awaiting assessment after being referred to the service.

“This communication should encompass details like the professional’s name and title, an overview of the assessment process, guidance on reaching out to the team for queries, and information on whom to contact in case of a crisis,” JCC said.

JCC also found only giving CAMHS clinicians authority to prescribe medication for services users had “a considerable impact on the capacity and workload of the clinicians responsible for prescribing”.

“It is acknowledged that this model is not sustainable, and collaboration with local GP services is necessary to share the responsibility of prescribing,” it said.

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