NHS England has launched a passport style brief of key facts that children and young people using mental health services can use to help them avoid repeating their history and preferences every time they use services.
Around 850,000 or 9.6 per cent of children and young people aged between 5-16 years have a mental disorder. In an average class of 30 schoolchildren, three will suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder.
The passport idea, which includes clinical information as well as key personal preferences, has been developed by young people, parents and carers and can now be used across care settings either on paper or on mobile phones.
The passports are written with the practitioner and can include as much or as little as the young person likes such as a summary of their issues, history, and preferences.
It is kept by the young person, in their preferred format like a letter or in the form of a passport or even on their phone and can then be shown to professionals at any new service.
The idea came from a group of young people, parents, carers and professionals working with NHS England on improving integration between services. The group highlighted their frustrations about needing to repeat their history when accessing multiple services.
They said they did not feel empowered to pass on their information when they wanted to because services were commissioned by many different places.
Leanne, 20, who was key in drafting and developing the passport and video guidance as part of the group, said: “I feel very passionate about sharing my experiences as a service user to help make changes happen. As a tool, I hope the passport can go forward to make things a little easier for other people to help them to communicate their story in their way and prevent some of the difficulties we experienced.
“The development of the passport shows the real power of professionals and service users alike, coming together and working together to improve things for ourselves and for other people.”
The passport’s introduction builds on the Future in Mind report a bout improving children and young people’s mental health, which said
‘You should only have to tell your story once, to someone who is dedicated to helping you, and you shouldn’t have to repeat it to lots of different people’ and the tool has been developed in line with this.’
Now, NHS England will encourage practitioners to use the passport template with young people as they transition to a new service and will be informing the NHS, Local Authorities and voluntary and independent sectors so they are aware of their use.
A video guide, also created by young people, on how to use the passport can be seen here.