The YJB places a high priority on meeting the mental health needs of young people at risk of offending and reoffending as part of its statutory aim to prevent offending and assessment and screening of a young person's mental health problems is essential in providing accurate information about their mental health needs.
The YJB's evidence-based document on mental health is Key Elements of Effective Practice - Mental Health.
This page contains information on:
- Asset Mental Health Screening Tool
- Communication needs
- Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health: Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion pilots
- Targeted Mental Health in Schools
- Asset Mental Health Screening Tool
As part of the YJB's commitment to improve access to mental health services for young people within the youth justice system, we commissioned the University of Manchester and Salford NHS Trust to develop a child and adolescent Mental Health Screening Tool to be attached to Asset.
The Asset Mental Health Screening Tool, triggered by section 8 of the Asset Core Profile, consists of:
SQIFA - The Mental Health Screening Questionnaire Interview for Adolescents (SQIFA) is a short screening tool attached to Asset to be completed by all YOT staff.
SIFA - The Mental Health Screening Interview for Adolescents (SIFA) is a detailed interview to be completed by YOT health staff.
Screening Manual - This manual provides youth justice practitioners with supporting notes on the screening process and local training.
The aim of this tool is to improve the ability of youth justice services to identify young people with mental health needs and to provide both appropriate support and referral to a range of Tier 1 to Tier 4 CAMH services.
Asset Mental Health Screening Tool - Screening Pathway
The Screening Pathway should be considered for all young people within the youth justice system and action taken based on the following outcomes.
The Screening Pathway is intended to improve the identification of young people within the youth justice system who have mental health needs. It is important that these young people are supported by youth justice services to access the appropriate level of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Tier 1 to 4 services that they require.
It is important to note that, in any situation where it is clearly evident that a young person has mental health needs that require urgent assessment by specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, an immediate referral should be made to the appropriate local CAMH service. In these cases there is no requirement to complete the screening pathway before making a referral.
Where specialist assessment and treatment resources are not available to meet a young persons needs as identified by the screening pathway, and or long waiting lists exist, the best possible alternative support package which should have already been considered, should be put in place while waiting for access to specialist CAMHS.
1) Asset: Section 8 - Emotional and Mental Health
If a young person scores 2 or more in Section 8 of Asset then SQIFA should be completed.
0 or 1 = no problem in this area.
2 = consider repeating the questionnaire in 4-6 weeks or if circumstances change.
3 or 4 = possible problems, full screening interview SIFA should be carried out.
a. Complete full SIFA interview.
b. Provide support and make the appropriate referral to CAMHs.
Note: All decisions regarding action taken or decisions not to proceed with further screening and or referral, should be recorded on the young persons case file.
The Mental Health Screening Tool is attached to Asset and forms part of the wider assessment of a young person's needs.
It is important that each young person is given the opportunity to discuss all issues raised by the Screening Tool. It should be made clear to each young person that they are not required to disclose any information that they do not want to discuss during the screening interviews.
A young person can opt out of the SIFA interview at any time if they decide they do not want to participate. While it is preferable that the screening process is completed to enable the best decision on the most appropriate support package and/or referral to be made, in all cases the decision to put in place appropriate services is not dependant on a completed interview. The best interests of the young person should be paramount at all times during the screening process.
Clear statements need to be made about who has access to information and where information is recorded.
Explain that information obtained will not be used against the young person in any way, and forms part of the health assessment as part of the multi-disciplinary assessments within the YOT or secure setting.
Clarify that you are required to share information if a young person is at risk to themselves or others, or if they are at risk of abuse by others.
Information may also need to be shared if the young person becomes subject to a formal assessment under the Mental Health Act.
The Bercow Report, published in July 2008, was a review of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs and looked at how to improve services for children and young people with problems ranging from severe speech and language impairments to a vocabulary limited by social reasons, such as a family background where communication between family members is limited.
In response to Bercow, the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department of Health published a joint action plan 'Better Communication' which outlines a number of cross government initiatives building up to The National Year of Speech Language and Communication in 2011-12. This includes:
- up to 20 local area pathfinders to develop good practice guidance and a commissioning guide on speech, language and communication needs
- up to £1.5m of grants to the communication sector
- up to £1.5m for research programme looking at speech, language and communication needs over next three years
- the appointment of a Communication Council and Communication Champion to raise awareness and support delivery of initiatives.
- The Bercow Action Plan committed money to the Communication Trust who the YJB are working closely with to develop training materials for both staff in the secure estate and in the community. This forms part of the Communication Trust's three-year Youth Justice Programme Plan, the overarching aims of which are:
- To increase the level of understanding of the importance of communication needs amongst the youth justice workforce.
- To improve the skills and the confidence of the youth justice workforce in identifying and managing children and young people with communication needs.
- To support coalition working between public and third sector organisations to further understanding of communication needs within the youth justice system.
There are four distinct projects within the programme, and the material for the awareness campaign and training materials is already underway. The projects are:
- Awareness raising campaign aimed at the youth justice workforce.
- Developing training programmes for the youth justice workforce.
- Influencing the existing workforce programmes and National Occupational Standards (NOS) owned by the YJB and Skills for Justice.
Support staff providing education to young offenders and support the handover of educational responsibility to local authorities in autumn 2010.
The training materials will clearly show the links between different communication needs such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN), autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There will also be a pilot in two youth offending teams (YOTs) aimed at reviewing and adapting a screening tool (the Hidden Disabilities Questionnaire) ensuring that it supports any assessment that YOT staff are already making, and signposts the need for more in-depth assessment. This work will also form part of the YJB's review of the Asset tool.
The first of the staff awareness raising materials was launched at the YJB Annual Youth Justice Convention 2009. "Sentence Trouble" is a guide for the youth justice workforce to help them communicate more effectively with all young people in the youth justice system, particularly those with communication needs.
Visit ICAN to download a copy or order hard copies of the booklet for staff. "Sentence Trouble" will also be available for every person who completes the revised YJB Juvenile Awareness Staff Programme mental health module in young offender institutions.
To support this booklet the Sentence trouble website has been launched. The website contains information about what speech, language and communication needs are. In addition the website also features a forum to enable the youth justice workforce to network and share best practice in relation to communication needs.
Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health:Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion pilots
Early Identification and Diversionary Interventions for health and mental health are amongst the best forms of support for young people at risk of entry into the youth justice system. Lord Bradley in his review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System emphasised the importance of early identification of health needs and diversion away from the Criminal Justice System. As part of the 'Supporting Young Peoples Mental Health Project', the YJB, Department of Health and the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health are conducting 6 pilots across England called 'Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion Pilots'. The objective of these two year pilots is to:
- plan to introduce a system of identification and diversion for young people with mental health, learning, communication difficulties or other vulnerabilities at the earliest possible opportunity in the youth justice system
- place a Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion worker in the custody suite to screen as many young people passing through the police custody suite as possible for vulnerabilities
- ensure, where fuller assessment is needed, the Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion worker has strong links within the community for referrals as they will have already mapped all services in the area for referrals.
The pilot areas are Lewisham, Halton and Warrington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Peterborough, Wolverhampton and South Tees.
Targeted Mental Health in Schools
Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) programme is a three-year DCSF-funded project aimed at identifying children and young people between the ages of 5 - 13 with emotional health and well-being issues whilst at school in order to offer support and referral to relevant services to both the young person and their family.
As there is a the high prevalence of children and young people in the youth justice system with mental health problems, the YJB have been heavily involved in the extension of the TaMHs project to enable links between the current TaMHs programme and wider youth justice services including Youth Inclusion and Support Panels, youth offending teams and Youth Intervention Programmes.
The extension to the project will result in new guidance being published in early spring 2010. This guidance will highlight best practice in establishing and maintaining these links with youth justice services. The guidance will be informed by a number of site visits to YOTs. The proposed visits will be to Brighton/Hove, Bury, Leeds, Leicester, Merton, Sunderland, Devon, Thurrock and Warwickshire.