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Children and young people’s mental health workforce strategy

This strategy focuses on those whose jobs support the mental health of children and young people (the workforce) and aims to explain why this topic is important, what we did to explore it and our findings.

It includes a list of challenges that surfaced when we were talking to services, professionals and young people; these are shown below and explored in more detail later on in the document. We have heard from a lot of people how important it is for plans to be developed together across their local systems.

This strategy document aims to highlight key workforce issues and priorities and to be a guide for the development of operational plans that will ultimately improve the provision of mental health care for children and young people in London by addressing these workforce challenges. This work has been funded by Health Education England (HEE) and created in partnership with HEE and Youth Access.

Challenges

1)  Recognition

Often, jobs in mental health aren’t viewed positively due to a lack of funding, frequent negative media coverage, stigma, etc. This can put people off applying for these jobs in the first place.

2) Recruitment

There aren’t enough trained people to fill all the positions in services that support young people with their mental health.

3) Retention

There are often barriers for people to stay working in the jobs that support the mental health of young people, which results in people leaving.

4) Skills and training

Different areas of the mental health system do not have consistent levels of skills and training and expertise is not viewed as equal across different areas.

5) Fragmentation and awareness

Mental health support for young people is very fragmented between sectors and areas. As a result, staff often fail to connect up or recommend alternatives where young people can access support.

6) Staff wellbeing and supervision

The wellbeing of staff supporting children and young people’s mental health is low because there is not enough support for them.

7) Wider system

There is not enough funding for services that supports children and young people and their families. This leads to big problems for staff trying to support young people across the system

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