Case Study

Informing Policy & Practice - Children & Young People’s Mental Health

Client: Department of Education | Sectors: Social Policy

Children and young people’s mental health has been in the public spotlight in recent years, with growing evidence of the scale of demand and the challenge this presents to public services. It is estimated that 1 in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health problem, despite less than one percent of NHS funding designated for Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services.

In response to the challenge, the Government has initiated a series of policy initiatives, building on the work of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce and their report, Future in Mind, and with public backing from the Prime Minister. 

We are pleased to have been appointed by the Department for Education to evaluate the flagship pilot programme that was announced in the Taskforce report.

Between September 2015 and November 2016, we conducted an independent evaluation of the Mental Health Services and Schools Links Pilots. Covering 22 areas and 255 schools across England, the pilots aimed to test new models of joint working between schools and specialist health services, with expert training provided by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. 

Our evaluation provided a detailed account of the effectiveness and outcomes from the pilot programme, including a set of recommendations for schools, health services and policymakers. 

On the strength of the evidence from the report, the Department for Education has committed to a national rollout of the training programme across England. Our report was cited as a key source of evidence in the 2017 Green Paper, Transforming children and young people’s mental health, which announced plans for creating a new workforce of community-based mental health support teams.

Ecorys has been appointed to conduct an extended evaluation until autumn 2019, working with 20 areas and up to 1,200 schools and colleges to further develop the evidence base. 

Key Experts

Laurie Day Technical Director