We are transforming children’s emotional wellbeing and mental health services in Surrey. This will result in a new and broader range of services for children, young people and families.

There will be a greater emphasis on providing support earlier, and more opportunity to access a range of services in many different ways and settings.

Children and young people’s mental health is everyone’s business. So with increased support offers across the whole community, and the greater number of places and settings where it is available, schools, GPs and communities will be better supported to help children and young people with their emotional wellbeing and mental health needs.

A phased approach will ensure we can keep families safe and well supported while we are introducing changes. Our new approach will be rolled out in two phases: phase one (April to September 2021), phase two (October 2021 to April 2022).

There will be a significant number of changes and improvements over the next two years; we have highlighted here the key changes that you will see very soon:

Considerably increased staff resource

We are pleased to have received a significant increase in funding which will enable us to provide more and better services delivered through a larger workforce, with an increase of more than 100 new staff over the next year or two. These staff will increase capacity, some to take up new innovative roles and others to support new services. We have already recruited nearly 50 new staff who will bring additional skills and knowledge to enhance our support offer. These new roles will be introduced over phase one (April to September 2021) and phase two (October 2021 to April 2022) of the programme, and will include:

  • New Community Wellbeing Team – community based practitioners who will focus on early intervention and support children and young people as soon as they start to feel they are struggling; they will help families to navigate the choices available and engage with services
  • New Early Intervention Coordinators (EIC) - each mainstream secondary school will have a named EIC who will be a familiar face, act as a dedicated supporter and be able to connect the child, young person or family to the right person or organisation
  • New Transition Support Workers to support young adults (usually in the age range 16–18) who are moving from children’s to adult mental health services 
  • New Reaching Out Therapists to support Pupil Referral Units for children who aren't able to attend a mainstream school and often need greater care and support in order to begin their return to mainstream education
  • A New Building Resilience service is being created to provide early support for children, young people and families via a range of services including counselling and therapeutic interventions, mentoring and various early intervention projects
  • More Mental Health Support Teams – additional funding means that we will also be significantly increasing our MHSTs from three to 13 over the next three years.

Transformed neurodevelopmental services

We are about to begin a six month project in a small number of schools to test and co-design a radically transformed prototype service model which we believe will reach children and young people who need help earlier. This new approach will focus on their needs and how best to support them. It will, for the first time, introduce treatment offers into the neurodevelopment service. The project will allow us to test with school staff and parents the usefulness and efficacy of a new range of tools designed to help schools and communities, before we roll them out across the county. It will be led by Assistant Psychologists and Neurodevelopmental Community Therapists.

24/7 Crisis line for children, young people and families

New 24/7 crisis line open seven days a week - 0800 915 4644.

If you are worried about yourself or someone in your family or that you care for, please call our 24/7 mental health crisis line free on 0800 915 4644. You will be able to talk with a trained call handler who will provide advice, support and signposting to a range of community services. It’s open all day and all night, seven days a week. 

The crisis line is available for children and young people from the age of six. It can be used by those who are already receiving mental health services, and also by those who are not. No formal request for support is needed. We have launched this new single number because we know that supporting children can be distressing for families so we are making it easier to access advice in crisis situations.

Out-of-hours advice for challenging behaviour

A new out-of-hours phone line provides advice to parents who are struggling with behaviours or difficulties which could be related to neurodevelopmental need, such as autism or ADHD. It runs from 5pm until 11pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 0300 222 5755.

Widened assertive outreach for vulnerable children

The number of vulnerable children is growing. So we are extending our Reaching Out service (currently available for 16-25s who don’t usually engage but have needs) to reach and support those aged 8–15, who may not be in school or are facing other difficulties, for example those at risk of offending. Our practitioners go out into the community, and sometimes the young people’s homes, to engage with them. 

Far easier self-referral

We will be increasing the number of services into which children, young people and families can self-refer, and improving the self-referral system, so that access to advice and support is faster and on their terms, and they have more choice about their options, leading to quicker access to the right treatments. For example they will be able to approach the Community Wellbeing Team in their local community, the Early Intervention Coordinator in their secondary school, or get involved through school drop-ins and the havens. 

New wellbeing campaigns

We will work with schools and our alliance partners to organise a range of activity-based support eg drama in schools as a way of engaging young people in a relaxing environment while also encouraging and empowering them to take more control of their own health and wellbeing. There will also be targeted workshops in schools, and transition preparation (moving from primary to secondary school), all aimed at prevention of emotional difficulties.

Wellbeing passport

We will work with children and young people on initiatives such as a ‘wellbeing passport’ that details their whole mental health history so they don’t need to repeat their story each time they talk to any of us. 

Strong user voice

Children, young people and families should have a voice in the way in which our services are planned and delivered. We have set up a CYPF group who attend Trust planning meetings and formally contribute their views and experiences to our plans. This important new process helps us ensure our services are appropriately tailored to the needs of those who rely on us.