Young People's Advisory Service: Wellbeing Clinics

14 Sep 2020

YPAS, based in Liverpool, share how they continued to maintain Wellbeing Clinics with secondary school pupils during lockdown.

Part of YPAS' service delivers weekly school-based 'Wellbeing Clinics' in mainstream secondary schools within Liverpool.

These clinics provide early intervention and low-intensity, evidence-based support, with referrals coming from school staff and sessions delivered within the school. Due to lockdown restrictions, schools began to close their doors to external visitors, before closing fully, so YPAS needed to adapt how it could continue to deliver this vital support. 

Not without challenge, YPAS staff prioritised maintaining and building upon existing working relationships between practitioners and key school staff. They also continued to offer and provide regular contact between young people and families accessing the service and their practitioners, by adapting their approach to working as a remote team.

Within the first week of the March 2020 lockdown, YPAS practitioners made contact (or attempted to make contact) with all young people open to the Wellbeing Clinic service. Although practitioners were able to continue the low-intensity therapeutic work remotely, they could offer weekly check-in phone calls with young people, or parents if more appropriate, to maintain contact and provide any practical support or resources required.

Any young people who chose not to engage in phone support during this period of lockdown were placed 'on hold' so that when face-to-face contact resumed, they would be contacted and reviewed as to what support they would then need.

Alongside this, YPAS practitioners maintained contact with their school link staff member, ensuring that good communication and understanding around the needs of the young people continued.

As a CAMHS partnership within Liverpool, information was disseminated to ensure schools were aware of how they could get in contact and still make referrals into the service. Whereas, pre-lockdown, the triaging and referral process had been managed in school between the key link staff member and YPAS practitioners, referrals could now be sent electronically and securely to the Wellbeing Clinic. 

Impact so far

The feedback received from the young people and their families, as well as the key link staff in the secondary schools, was that the continuity of contact and support was the most valued. The strong professional relationships that the practitioners at YPAS developed with their schools was really highlighted during that period.

Being able to offer remote delivery of interventions has been exciting and something that will hopefully be used effectively in the future to further increase access to the support available. The passion that YPAS practitioners have for helping young people and their families is evident and so valued within their organisation.

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The original case study was written by Kirsty Drysdale, Primary Care Wellbeing Practitioner Team Lead, YPAS