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Speakers unveiled for mental health webinar during national wellbeing campaign

A sparkling line up of speakers will shed light on the “escalating challenges” around accessing care in teenage mental health wards in the UK during a webinar next month.

The NIHR ARC East Midlands has marked Children’s Mental Health Week by announcing the chair of the upcoming online event – Professor Kapil Sayal from the University of Nottingham.

During the webinar, clinicians, service commissioners, and people affected by mental health problems and carers will hear the results of a study that has identified challenges with accessing hospital beds on adolescent mental health wards, forcing hundreds of teenagers to travel miles or wait weeks until being admitted.

Taking place on Thursday, March 21, between 12.30pm and 1.45pm, attendees will hear discussions from Dr Anne-Marie Burn, from the University of Cambridge and Dr Josephine Holland and Dr James Roe from the University of Nottingham.

They will explore how the study’s results will impact future research, clinical practice and service development.

The ‘Far Away from Home’ study was a collaboration between five NIHR ARCs – East Midlands, East of England, Greater Manchester, Oxford & Thames Valley and West Midlands.

Professor Sayal, senior author and chair of the webinar, said: “It is imperative that we collectively address and overcome the escalating challenges in accessing timely and appropriate mental health care.

“This webinar provides a platform for young people, parents and carers, researchers, clinicians, service managers, and mental health service commissioners to gain insights from the study findings.”

He added: “It also serves as an opportunity to engage in discussions about next steps such as future research priorities and implications for clinical practice and service development.”

During the online event, researchers will present national data on the frequency, clinical characteristics and outcomes of 290 admissions collected over a 13-month period, including follow-up data.

In addition, they will present findings from interviews with young people, parents and healthcare professionals on the impact of these admissions.

Dr Josephine Holland, co-author and speaker, said: “Young people are waiting a long time for a mental health bed, something which those who have assessed them feel they need as a matter of emergency.

“This forces them to wait in places which are not quite right for a young person experiencing a mental health crisis.”

The study was funded by the NIHR ARC East Midlands. The organisation funds vital work to tackle the region’s health and care priorities by speeding up the adoption of research onto the frontline of health and social care. It puts in place evidence-based innovations which seek to drive up standards of care and save time and money.

NIHR ARC East Midlands is hosted by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and works in collaboration with the Health Innovation East Midlands. It has bases at the University of Leicester and the University of Nottingham. 

Children’s Mental Health Week is an awareness campaign that empowers, equips and gives a voice to all children and young people in the UK.

This year, Children’s Mental Health Week 2024 will take place from Monday, February 5, to Sunday, February 11.

Published on: 5 Feb 2024