Mental health support in schools to expand in Camden

21 December 2018

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is set to deliver early intervention mental health services for young people in Camden as part of ground-breaking new scheme.

Young people sitting on a bench

Building on our established CAMHS school service, new Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) will support young people with mild to moderate mental health difficulties as well as vulnerable groups at increased risk of developing mental health problems. There will be two MHSTs, each covering 15 primary and secondary schools across Camden.

As part of the ‘Trailblazer’ programme, NHS England awarded Camden Clinical Commissioning Group funding for a collaboration between Camden Council, Camden CCG, and the Tavistock. This scheme is the pilot phase of the implementation of the Government’s CAMHS Green Paper which the Trust alongside our Camden partners was able to input into based on the evidence of the longstanding work we have delivered in Camden schools. The Green Paper seeks to improve access to CAMHS services for all children and young people across England.

CAMHS waiting times in Camden have been reducing, but there is variation across services. A second pilot will introduce a single point of access where all referrals are reviewed by a multidisciplinary team and allocated to an appropriate CAMHS team.

This new ‘triage plus’ model will offer a range of services including: increasing the frequency of joint intake meetings; introducing welcome phone calls with the aim of reassuring families and reducing did not attend and cancellation rates; and offering an initial appointment within one week of the referral being received and a second appointment within four weeks.


Sally Hodges, Children, Young Adults and Families Director for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We’re excited to be piloting a new CAMHS in schools approach and address access to mental health support, wellbeing, and supporting school staff in their roles. This builds on our excellent work in Camden schools over the past 10 years and our strong partnership approach with Camden Council and CCG.”


Councillor Angela Mason, Cabinet Member for Best Start in Life said:

“These successful bids for over £3 million will help us, with our partners, deliver the best available mental health care and support to Camden’s young people.

“The vital importance of the mental health of our nation’s young people is becoming increasingly better understood, as is the requirement to ensure that we provide a comprehensive range of services to help those young people most in need of our support.

“In Camden we take pride in our early intervention approach across a wide range of health issues. By putting in place-targeted resources, and working with partners, we are able to often identify and assist individuals at an early stage, preventing greater problems from developing later in life.

“Securing this funding is further vindication that Camden’s way of doing things works and demonstrates our commitment to fighting for every penny for Camden residents.”


Dr Martin Abbas, Swiss Cottage Surgery and Camden CCG Governing Body Children’s Sponsor said:

“I am delighted that Camden has been successful in its bid to be a trailblazer in this important work for children’s mental health in schools.

“This will build on our innovative and transformational work and I look forward to continuing our partnership with Camden Council and the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, for the benefit of young people in the borough of Camden.”

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