Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) strategy - children and young people 0-25: 2020-2023

The 2020-2023 Children’s Trust Plan – refreshed from 2017-2020, has Six Priorities.  This Social, Emotional and Mental Health Strategy has been elevated into a stand-alone Strategy, whilst retaining critical links to the other five Priorities in the Children’s Trust Plan.

The full six priorities are:

  1. Improve education outcomes – the Education Strategy
  2. Improve early help and safeguarding – the Safeguarding Strategy
  3. Improve physical health – the Physical Health Strategy
  4. Improve Social, Emotional and Mental Health – the SEMH Strategy
  5. Improve outcomes for children in care and care leavers – the Corporate Parenting Strategy
  6. Improve outcomes for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – the SEND Strategy

In addition, the Children’s Trust Plan 2020-2023 has a ‘strategic spine’ – five areas that all strategies needs to progress:

  1. A ‘deal’ with parents: a social contract with families and co-production
  2. The Portsmouth Model of Family Practice: restorative and relational Practice which is trauma-informed and whole-family
  3. Strong Organisations: Excellent Workforce: leadership development, restorative organisations and high quality professional development – training and coaching
  4. Performance and Quality Management: using data well and learning from front-line practice
  5. Community capacity building: enabling the community and the voluntary sector to meet need
  6. Tackling racism: ensuring all communities can access services and support
The SEMH Strategy Vision

There is a clear-shared intention to adopt a whole system approach to developing and transforming the support for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.  Fundamental to this approach is the importance of partnership working and that social and emotional mental health becomes ‘everyone’s business’ in the same way as safeguarding has become ‘everyone’s business’ across Portsmouth.

We want all children and young people in Portsmouth to enjoy good emotional wellbeing and mental health.  The ways in which we will achieve this vision is by:

  • Establishing a clearly understood needs-led model of support for children and young people with Social Emotional Mental Health difficulties, which will provide access to the right help at the right time through all stages of their emotional and mental health development.
  • Ensuring that children and young people have access to a range of early help in supporting their emotional wellbeing and mental health needs which will prevent difficulties escalating and requiring specialist mental health services.
  • Supporting professionals working with children and young people to have a shared understanding of Social Emotional Mental Health and to promote resilience and emotional wellbeing in their work.
Thrive framework for system-wide change

Portsmouth is transforming its approach to Children and Young People’s emotional wellbeing and mental health by aligning itself with the Thrive Model. The framework is an approach to supporting all children and young people’s emotional wellbeing. We know that the influences on a child mental health are varied and each and every individual in a community has a role to play in helping young people to stay emotionally healthy.

What is the THRIVE framework?

  • The THRIVE framework is an approach to supporting all children and young people’s emotional wellbeing. We know that the influences on a child mental health are many and varied, and each and every individual in a community has a role to play in helping young people to stay emotionally healthy.
  • THRIVE conceptualises need in five categories; Thriving, Getting Advice and Signposting, Getting Help, Getting More Help and Getting Risk Support.
  • Emphasis is placed on prevention and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing.
  • Children, young people and their families are empowered through active involvement in decisions about their care through shared decision making, which is fundamental to the approach.
  • The aim is for a child or young person or their families to be informed about what support structures are available to them. The options they have, and to be able to understand what they can do to help themselves manage/maintain their emotional wellbeing.

All our service and pathway developments will follow these principles.

Common languageProvides a shared language which everyone can understand.
Needs ledApproach based on meeting needs regardless of diagnosis.
Shared decision makingChildren, young people and their families are experts in understanding their needs
Proactive early intervention and preventionEnabling the whole community in supporting mental health and wellbeing
Partnership workingWorking together to support and improve mental health is vital - 'everybody's business'.
Outcome informedShared understanding of what we are trying to achieve and understanding early if it is not working.
Reducing stigmaReducing together the stigma that surrounds mental health.
AccessibilityAdvice, help and risk support available in a timely way for the child, young person or family, where they are and in their community.
SEMH: Expected Outcomes

The strategy targets nine key outcomes.

  1. Reduced exclusions from school
  2. Improved attendance at school
  3. Reduce the referrals into alternative provision
  4. Good response times for young people’s SEMH support
  5. Reduce the number of inappropriate referrals to CAMHS
  6. Reduce the demand to specialist CAMHS
  7. Reduce self – harm attendances/admissions
  8. Reduce the prevalence of mental ill-health including anxiety, self-harm, low mood and eating disorders
  9. Skilled and confident workforce able to promote emotional well-being, respond to emotional distress and mental ill-health
COVID-19 and Likely Impact on Emotional and Mental Health

The SEMH partnership has considered, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the likely impact and presentation of mental health difficulties within the population as a whole.  We are focusing on how we reshape the system to meet an anticipated increase in demand for mental health support for children and young people as lockdown eases and children return to school and their peers.

The Short-Term (Year One) plan in this Strategy including our response to Covid-19.

‘New’ or increased anticipated needs as a result of Covid-19 include the following:

  • Separation Anxiety
  • Anxiety of release from lockdown/virus fears
  • Isolation from peers and loss of routine
  • Trauma experienced in lockdown
  • Worries about exam cancellation and moving into next phase of education
  • Self-Harm
  • Bereavement and Loss
  • Anxiety with transition
  • Sleep Hygiene
  • Potential rise in Eating Difficulties
  • Later identification of emerging needs
  • Increased incidence of adverse events such as domestic violence and child abuse
  • Increase in complexity of cases presenting to CAMHS especially with regards to social care needs
SEMH Strategy - 10 Key Objectives
  1. Secure strong early attachment in the first 1000 days of life
  2. Provide high quality advice, guidance and self-help
  3. Develop the children and young people’s workforce
  4. Improve early help and develop digital solutions
  5. Improving wellbeing and resilience in education
  6. Improve mental health support for LAC and care leavers
  7. Improve the support for specific groups of vulnerable children and young people
  8. Develop CAMHS services to meet demand
  9. Prevent suicide and its impact on children, young people and families
  10. Improving our local knowledge and performance management