Our Consultancy

Our Consultancy

Helping you transform mental health services to improve the lives of young people

YoungMinds Consultancy help you commission, design and deliver better mental health interventions and services that generate the outcomes that matter to children, young people and families. We understand the complexities and competing demands of the mental health system because we’re working with policy makers, providers and service users every day.

Transforming Together

Our Transforming Together framework for system and service design and improvement underpins our consultancy work. Created by our leading participation experts and informed by young people, parents and professionals, it combines systems thinking with participation to drive sustainable change.

The Transforming Together framework is designed to embed these three principles into the children’s mental health system because we believe they are essential if we are to change the culture of the system:

The three principles are: 

  1. Vulnerable Groups: ensuring the system is designed to meet the needs of the most vulnerable children and young people, can help improve it for everyone. 
  2. Building resilience: improving outcomes for children and young people, helping them to manage and bounce back from challenging times. 
  3. Think whole-systems: Understanding how all the resources and settings within the local system can work together to support young people's mental health. 

Services we offer, using Transforming Together are:

  1. Engagement and Insights: engaging with children, young people and families to help you understand their needs and priorities around mental health to underpin your case for transformation
  2. Design: involving children, young people, families and your workforce in generating new models or improving existing models of mental health support- right across the system from prevention campaigns and early support to specialist services
  3. Delivery: designing and supporting structures and processes to meaningfully involve children, young people and/or parents and carers in the strategic planning of mental health services and their leadership and delivery

You can read more about Transforming Together here (download pdf). 

Step 1: Engagement and Insights

What’s the purpose?

  • Develop a picture of how the system works now and why it works that way
  • Identify change leaders at all levels of the system
  • Articulate what needs to change and the system assets that can support change

In Practice: Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets, in East London, is a densely populated and culturally diverse borough: around 49% of residents are from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities and a further 33% are of Bangladeshi heritage. The children and young people’s mental health services are part of the East London Foundation Trust.

YoungMinds and NEL Commissioning Support Unit were commissioned by Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group to develop a co-produced outcomes framework that would set the foundations for a shared local vision for the children’s mental health system and enable the system to organise resources around what matters most to local families.

YoungMinds led on the design and implementation of insights generation with children, young people and families and the local workforce. Using in-reach workshops in local schools and community groups, the YoungMinds team explored outcomes creatively with children through, for example, drawing their favourite day at school.  Older year groups were invited to community workshops where they mapped their journeys within local services, identifying low and high points. Workforce workshops brought together front-line workers and system leaders from children’s health and social care services to explore their experiences and perspective.

Step 2: Design

What’s the purpose?

  • Generate co-owned principles for the service or system
  • Build accountability to children, young people and families into the design of services

In Practice: Tower Hamlets

YoungMinds trained local young people to help analyse and interpret the insights from step one and from this developed with the CSU a draft set out children and young people’s mental health outcomes for the whole-system. These were iterated further in a series of whole-system workshops, bringing together professionals from a range of settings, including the voluntary and community sector, to ensure we created outcomes relevant to all parts of the system, and truly reflected the priorities of local people. We led workshops with local youth community groups and involved them in designing the measurement tools to implement and monitor the outcomes framework. Their feedback helped us make sure that the tools we all used were credible and approved by young people.

Step 3: Delivery

What’s the purpose?

  • Deliver change through:
  • Introducing evidence-based interventions that align with the system principles
  • Cycles of development, testing and reviewing
  • Embedding engagement and communication across the whole-system

In Practice: Tower Hamlets

With continued support and guidance from us, and the CSU, Tower Hamlets created an outcomes framework for all settings in their local area. One section of the outcomes framework was to increase young people’s understanding of mental health. We co-produced a mental health campaign with local young people.  

Beginning the Transforming Together cycle again, on a smaller, quicker scale, we involved local young people and families in setting objectives for the campaign. Community partners were then enlisted to help develop the campaign and the local steering group including both the local workforce and professionals. Young people told us the campaign needed to be creative and locally relevant, so in response we organised a summer programme of activities. This included photography, grime music workshops and arts workshops to engage young people who may not have participated in a traditional mental health awareness programme.

We followed this up with ‘Mark Your Mind’, co-produced mental health resources for young people, featuring local language and images created by young people. The resources were rolled out to community groups and schools during workforce training sessions.  We supported families through our co-produced parent training with local community groups so that parents could access interventions through organisations they already trusted. An evaluation of the project showed young people and parents who had participated did have increased mental health literacy.

 

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