2018 has proved to be an exciting and inspiring year for embedding the Children & Young People’s Health Partnership (CYPHP) Body, Mind and Context approach. Our work promotes the value of understanding and addressing the physical health needs of any child/young person in connection with their emotional and mental health, and an appreciation of influential contextual factors such as family and community.
We have worked hard to ensure that this biopsychosocial approach provides a running thread through everything we do; from delivery of clinical services to our training offers and resources. Through our partnership we are actively championing this approach with professionals who have contact with children and young people, highlighting the benefits, and also sharing our own experiences of successes and challenges.
By promoting a focus on ‘the whole person,’ CYPHP has directly and indirectly supported delivery of high-quality care for children, young people, and their families. This includes:
We have tasked ourselves with sharing our clinical expertise through a series of Mind & Body blogs, illustrating the value of the approach in day to day practice. We have also partnered with the Mind & Body programme at King’s Health Partners to initiate a Child and Young Person specific professional forum, through their existing cohort of Mind & Body Champions.
Training and education
In partnership with Local Authorities in Lambeth and Southwark, CYPHP developed and delivered a bespoke training course for Personal Advisors. Personal Advisors are key professionals working with care leavers - a vulnerable group who often have unmet physical and mental health needs. The course was set up in three modules and run over a six month period. Personal Advisors provided many examples of how the course content would influence their ongoing work with care leavers, and when asked if they would recommend the course, participants said:
- “This course would be very good for new PAs.”
- “Networking, it is important to know and share knowledge, experience and services available.’
- “It was good to have time away to reflect upon practice and gain some information which was not known.’
With support from the Health Innovation Network, CYPHP delivered training for Youth Workers which focused on applying the Teen Health Talk within different work contexts. The Teen Health Talk tool will be used as a conversational support tool, helping Youth Workers to engage with adolescents about broader health, mental health, and social needs. Feedback on the training was highly positive:
- “Great, gave me a lot of ideas on working with clients around health and wellbeing.”
- “I learnt the importance of addressing health during conversations with the young people we work with. This links in with issues such as substance abuse, self-harm, youth violence and sexuality which we are dealing with on a daily basis as youth workers.”
In addition, working in partnership with the Mind & Body Programme and with support of Dr Claire Dempster, an experienced facilitator, CYPHP developed and delivered its first one day Children & Young People’s Practitioners Skills Course (two more dates are already planned for 2019). The course is open to all professionals working with children, young people, and families across health, education, and social care. The course aims to promote the inter-professional care of children and young people with health and other complex needs. Feedback from the day included:
- “Practical tips on interacting with both child and parent, with mental health and physical needs.”
- “It was excellent and would be useful for all health professionals.”
- “Good knowledge and interactive sessions were very helpful.”
- “I learnt a lot from this course that hasn’t been covered in other training courses I’ve already taken.”
For the past two years, CYPHP has worked closely with The Training Effect on the Head First project, a programme commissioned by CYPHP to promote emotional resilience and mental health understanding in primary and secondary schools. Head First uses a ‘train the trainer’ approach, and incorporates helpful resources to support teachers and school staff.
A biopsychosocial approach to health care
CYPHP has created, launched and successfully implemented the use of CYPHP Health Checks and Health Support Packs in Lambeth and Southwark. The Health Check and Support Packs are a unique initiative, aiming to firstly gain a better understanding of the needs of local children and young people at an individual, as well as at population level (Health Checks). Secondly, it crucially gives our programme the opportunity to provide families with good quality information (Health Support Pack) about the management of their child’s condition, of any additional emotional and/or behavioural issues, as well as practical ways to look after the needs of parents and families affected by health issues.
Importantly, the results of the Health Checks have helped us to actively identify and engage with families requiring multidisciplinary care from our specialist team. In turn, the CYPHP Health Team has continued to develop skills to incorporate a consistent body, mind, and context approach to care, by ensuring that our physical and mental health team members work closely together with the families we support. Some comments from parents have included:
- “They advised us a lot of things, like what he’s going to do, what he’s not going to do, we spoke even our private life with them, and they get us some help, counselling, we had now counselling because of [CYPHP Team].”
- “I ended up with postnatal depression and anxiety, so I would say that having [CYPHP Team] helped that, my anxiety as well, it helped.”
While we are proud of what we have achieved thus far, we realise there is still work to be done. In the next year, we hope to continue to improve our own skills and support colleagues in gaining the confidence and skills to use a Body, Mind, and Context approach. We are passionate about this approach being the best way to improve health and health outcomes for children, young people, and families, and we are excited to continue our work for the months to come.
To see more of the latest news from CYPHP, please click here.