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What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

The Five Year Forward View sets out recommendations for 24/7 community based mental health crisis response for children and adults by 2020/2021. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, NHSE/I directed Clinical Commissioning Groups to ensure that a 24/7 helpline is available to children and young people from April 2020. No additional funding was provided for this initiative. Sheffield Children’s Foundation Trust agreed to a partnership with Sheffield Futures, a charitable organisation, in order to staff a helpline for children and young people between the hours of 9:00am – 9:00pm for 7 days each week. The initiative was implemented at pace and presented a number of operational and governance challenges which have prevented the service from expanding to a 24/7 provision.

What does your project aim to achieve?

This bid seeks to secure temporary funding to test out a continued partnership between Sheffield Children’s NHS FT and Sheffield Futures to provide a mental health helpline. We will employ a pathway coordinator to staff the helpline and to support children and young people to access the support that they need in a more timely way. The initiative is in keeping with national objectives to provide support sooner, preventing the escalation of need for more specialist mental health provision. If the initiative is successful then Sheffield Children’s and Sheffield Futures will make a case to the Clinical Commissioning Group for continuation of funding for a helpline which is located within universal support services but which is supported by an NHS provider.

How will the project be delivered?

Sheffield Children’s will recruit a band 4 pathway coordinator to work between child and adolescent mental health services and Sheffield Futures. The pathway coordinator will contribute to staffing the helpline and will also contribute to the development of pathways across universal services. The initiative intends to draw together a robust network of emotional wellbeing support for children and young people across universal services, which prevents the need for access to specialist mental health provision. The initiative will be evaluated using existing reporting to the Clinical Commissioning Group which is overseen by Sheffield Futures.

How is your project going to share learning?

Sheffield Children’s and Sheffield Futures intend to evaluate the impact of the helpline using metrics of activity, impact upon activity across CAMHS and Universal Services, as well as caller satisfaction. This will be shared across the Q-Community network and with provider colleagues.

How you can contribute

  • Sheffield Children’s and Sheffield Futures would like to hear from other providers about how they have responded to the challenge of providing a mental health helpline. We would like to understand how other providers have worked in partnership with third sector organisations whilst providing clinical assurance of an NHS provider.

Plan timeline

1 Jan 2021 Recruitment of post
1 Feb 2021 Contributing to staffing the helpline
1 Feb 2021 Mapping network of available emotional wellbeing support to young people
1 Oct 2021 Contributing to the evaluation of delivery model