Improving and widening access to care for children and adults needing mental health support is a key priority for the NHS, as outlined in the Long Term Plan.

In addition, the extraordinary challenges presented by COVID-19 have increased the pressure on mental health services.

At the West of England AHSN we are working with NHS commissioners and providers, industry partners, other AHSNs, local trusts, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and community providers on a wide range of initiatives to support their work to improve mental healthcare and wellbeing.

We build networks to collaborate, share and promote good practice as well as spreading and implementing proven solutions. We also connect innovators with funding, evaluation and partners to allow their innovations to be refined, proven and adopted.

Alongside the Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Safety Improvement Programme, here are some examples of the work we are currently doing to support mental health in the West of England…

Working collaboratively

Mental Health Collaborative

The collaborative aims to improve the quality and safety of services for people with mental health conditions, learning disabilities and autism through the use of quality improvement methodology. Led by the West of England AHSN, membership includes Kent, Surrey and Sussex AHSN, Oxford AHSN, South West AHSN, Wessex AHSN and 16 mental health trusts across the south of England. The collaborative acts as the regional delivery vehicle for the Mental Health Safety Improvement Programme, which is commissioned by NHS England and Improvement and delivered by each of England’s 15 AHSNs.

Read more about the Mental Health Collaborative.

You can find out more about joining the collaborative, or its work, by contacting us.

Implementing evidence

Early Intervention Eating Disorder (FREED)

First-episode Rapid Early intervention for Eating Disorders (also referred to as FREED) is an innovative, evidence-based, specialist care package for 16 to 25-year-olds with a first-episode eating disorder of less than three years in duration. Read more about FREED.

Focus ADHD

Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can take significant time and resources, with an average 18 month wait for accurate diagnosis. Along with other AHSNs across the country we are working to implement objective testing, using QbTest to support diagnosis and reduce waiting times through our Focus ADHD project. Read more about Focus ADHD.

Supporting high impact users in Emergency Departments (SHarED)

Supporting high impact users in Emergency Departments (known as SHarED) aimed to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of a High Impact User team in the Emergency Departments of all five acute trusts in the West of England. Read more about SHarED.

Supporting innovation

Future Challenges: Young People and Mental Health Resilience

Our Future Challenges Programme supported innovators and local partners to pilot innovations in a real-world setting and, if they are successful, generate evidence to support their wider adoption.

Two innovations were selected under the Young People and Mental Health Resilience theme. Read more about Future Challenges: Young People and Mental Health Resilience.

S12 Solutions

S12 Solutions have developed an app and web based software to make Mental Health Act assessment and claim form processes quicker and, simpler by identifying approved mental health professionals. The West of England AHSN provided support to Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and S12 Solutions as they implemented this innovation. Read more about S12 Solutions.

Supporting people with learning disabilities

More broadly, we are working to support equity of care and life expectancy for people with learning disabilities, and the adoption and spread of proven innovations, diagnostics and technology for this community.  Read more about the Learning Disabilities Collaborative.

Early Intervention Eating Disorders Programme

As part of the AHSN Network, we are supporting speeding up the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders in those aged 16 to 25.

Read more
Emergency Department

SHarED: Supporting high impact users to Emergency Departments

This project aims to improve outcomes for the most frequent users of Emergency Departments.

Read more

Focus ADHD

We're working as part of the AHSN Network to speed up the diagnosis of ADHD through use of the QbTest.

Read more