National ‘CAMHS in the Time of Covid’ online event shares learning to improve mental health support for young people

8 February 2021

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, NHS organisations have been developing innovative new ways of supporting the mental health needs of young people and their families.

Staff working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), including in Hampshire, have been turning to digital solutions to ensure these needs are met, and have become ever more collaborative in sharing learning and excellent practice for the benefit of young people.

This spirit of partnership was underscored at last week’s ‘CAMHS in the Time of Covid’ online event, which brought together health and care professionals from across the country, alongside parents, social care and education professionals and commissioners to discuss the challenges they have experienced during the pandemic and how they are being overcome.

The event was hosted by @CAMHSNetwork, and co-designed through a series of Zoom meetings with some lived experience input, by staff from Hampshire CAMHS & Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT), North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust (NSCHT) and Pencil Me In.

The event was designed to provide a networking opportunity for people with an interest of CAMHS from across the country to learn and share with one another. The morning was highly interactive using breakout rooms to provide opportunities to share and spread best practice. Discussions focussed on a number of areas, including the growing use of digital technology, staff wellbeing, developing clinical skills, working with schools to more effectively support young people, and supporting parents and families to become experts by experience. The event produced a ‘gallery of greatness’ to share some examples of best practice.

Helen Dove, Innovation and Participation Lead at Hampshire CAMHS said: “This was an excellent morning meeting professionals and parents from across the country, sharing experiences of managing clinical services and young people in lockdown. We were able to share the challenges, as well as the positives. A lot has been learnt, and acknowledged, and we were able to think positively about the future whilst remaining realistic.” 

Children’s Adolescent and Mental Health Services in Hampshire are run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Event co-organiser Lyse Edwards, Head of Operations for Children and Families services at MPFT said: “Covid has disrupted previous ways of working and how we deliver services has radically changed in a very short period of time. This event started with a tweet reaching out to find out how other CAMHS services were managing with so much being digital and soon developed into what turned out to be a really informative and affirming session.”