The Norfolk Youth Mental Health Model: Pathways to care of young people accessing a pilot youth mental health service

Presentation First Author: 
Timothy Clarke (presented by Uju Ugochukwu)

Introduction: Measuring pathways to care has been used as a means of examining and understanding peoples' routes into mental health care. These routes into care are often varied and may include a diverse range of agencies. It is important to examine pathways to care in order to identify ways in which young people access services, as well as highlighting barriers or delays to appropriate treatment. Despite indications that they have the greatest need, adolescents and young people are less likely to seek help and access traditional mental health services. This study aimed to examine pathways to care to inform the development and design of a novel youth mental health services. Objectives: This presentation will use case studies and pathway diagrams to illustrate the various pathways to care experienced by young people accessing mental health services. Method: Data were collected on a sub sample of referrals accepted in to the pilot Norfolk youth mental health service (N = 94). Pathways to care were measured using a specially designed semi-structured interview capture form augmented by health record examination. Pathways to care data related to the problem that participants presented to appropriate secondary mental health services with. Measures of functioning, time use, depression and social anxiety were also collected. Results: The mean duration of help seeking delay for presenting problems was 1.36 years. Additionally, it took a mean of 5.53 pathways between seeking help and accessing appropriate services. 62.8% of the sample presented to their General Practitioner (GP) and 14.9% to an educational provider as a first pathway to care. It was also indicated that individuals with long pathways to care were spending fewer hours per week engaged in structured activity compared to those with shorter pathways. Conclusion: Pathways to care are variable in a group of young people presenting to mental health services both in terms of number of pathways and duration. A majority of participants experienced 'long pathways' which is not ideal and may negatively impact on symptomatic and functional recovery. The results indicate the need to improve access to appropriate services by overcoming pathway barriers and at the closest point of initial help seeking. Service implications are discussed.

Conference Name: 
Date of Presentation: 
10th Oct 2015
Type of presentation: 
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