Children and Young People’s experiences of using mental health services provided by Forward Thinking Birmingham

July 29, 2021

Children and Young people in Birmingham are being deterred from seeking help from mental health services as a result of long waiting times for assessments and treatments, a Healthwatch Birmingham upcoming report finds.

The report is based on research conducted by Healthwatch Birmingham between March and June 2021. The report sought to identify and understand barriers and/or facilitators that children and young people experience when accessing mental health services provided by Forward Thinking Birmingham.

Some of the findings from the report include:

  • Long waiting times from referral to assessments are impacting the ability of the service to intervene early and prevent deterioration in the mental health of young people
  • Mental health services are fragmented and bureaucratic creating barriers to access and negatively impacting outcomes.
  • Some Children and Young People’s mental health has deteriorated following the use of mental health services
  • Children and Young People and their parents feel they have to fight and often have to rely on A & E to access mental health services.
  • Mental health support for Children and Young People with complex needs or other conditions needs to be reviewed and improved in order to address the specific needs of this group (e.g. autistic, Asperger’s, learning disability).
  • The service provided by the Crisis team is considered to be poor in its response to Children and Young People including the time taken to respond and the opening hours of the service.

Healthwatch Birmingham will share the draft report and findings of the investigation with Forward Thinking Birmingham (the providers of mental health services for children and young people in Birmingham). We will then discuss the implications of our findings with them, and the positive changes they will take to improve the experiences of children and young people. The actions that they commit to will be included in the initial report and officially published and shared with the public.

Thank you to all the participants that gave their time and shared their experiences with us. If you would like to share with us your experiences of mental health services in Birmingham, please visit our website here


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