As half of all mental health problems manifest before the age of 14, access to treatment can seriously affect long-term health outcomes.
In a study funded through CWMT’s Ted Fort grant, Heidi Crompton and Sheila Hardy describe how they prepared general practice staff to better manage young people’s mental health. You can read brief details of the study below; if you would like a copy of the full article from which they are taken, published in ‘Practice Nursing’, please contact us.
It is estimated that half of all mental health problems manifest before the age of 14, with 25% enduring mental health conditions up to the age of 24. However, less than 50% receive treatment at the time. The aim of this project was to prepare staff so that they could improve access to treatment for young people with mental health problems presenting in a general practice setting.
Staff at a practice in Dorset, UK, were given training to enable them to recognise when a young person may have a mental health problem and know what actions to take. A computer template was developed to assist them to carry out a safe, detailed assessment of a young person’s mental health in a timely manner, and self-help materials were provided. Communication was set up with other organisations, such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, school nursing, and counselling, to address the gap in services that patients experience.
Training was received positively. Staff demonstrated increased knowledge and confidence following the session and reported that they would use the template. Use of the template was checked and it had been used eight times in the four weeks following the training. A survey carried out four months after the training showed that staff thought they were more likely to ask a young person about their mental health and provide them with supportive materials.
Staff at the practice felt prepared to manage young people’s mental health. There is a need to measure the effect of the interventions on the young people with mental health problems using the service. The plan is to continue and expand the project.
Sheila Hardy is the Trust’s Practice Nurse Educator, an Independent Healthcare Consultant and a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Hull.
Heidi Crompton is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner.
Heidi has created a website for her practice as part of this project, visit: