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A novel CBT-based intervention, tailored for young people, was developed in response to concerns about traditional diagnostically based approaches. Psychology of Emotions workshops use a normative approach to emotional difficulty instead of a diagnostic framework.
To evaluate the acceptability and efficacy of Psychology of Emotions workshops within an IAPT service for young people aged 16–25 years.
This was a mixed-methods study, evaluating routinely collected self-report measures of depression and anxiety, and qualitative feedback forms. The main outcomes were rates of attendance, change in symptom severity, and participant views of the intervention.
From January to September 2016, 595 young people were invited to attend the Psychology of Emotions workshops, of whom 350 (58.8%) attended at least one session. Young people who attended all six sessions (8.1%) experienced significant reductions in self-reported anxiety (d = .72) and depression (d = .58) and 35.5% were classified as recovered at completion. Those who attended at least two sessions (41.3%) reported smaller but significant improvements in anxiety (d = .42) and depression (d = .45); 22.0% were classified as recovered at the last session attended. Participants provided largely positive feedback about the intervention.
Psychology of Emotions is a promising treatment option, delivered outside of a diagnostic framework, for young people with mild to moderate mental health difficulties seen within IAPT services. Better understanding reasons for non-attendance might enable the intervention to be made accessible to more young people.
The Norfolk Youth Service was created in 2012 in response to calls to redesign mental health services to better meet the needs of young people. The new service model transcends traditional boundaries by creating a single, ‘youth friendly’ service for young people aged 14–25 years. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the transition to this new model on patterns of referral, acceptance and service use. We analysed routinely collected data on young people aged 14–25 years referred for secondary mental healthcare in Norfolk before and after implementation of the youth mental health service. The number of referrals, their age and gender, proportion of referrals accepted and average number of service contacts per referral by age pre- and post-implementation were compared.
Referrals increased by 68% following implementation of the new service model, but the proportion of referrals accepted fell by 27 percentage points. Before implementation of the youth service, there was a clear discrepancy between the peak age of referral and the age of those seen by services. Following implementation, service contacts were more equitable across ages, with no marked discontinuity at age 18 years.
Our findings suggest that the transformation of services may have succeeded in reducing the ‘cliff edge’ in access to mental health services at the transition to adulthood. However, the sharp rise in referrals and reduction in the proportion of referrals accepted highlights the importance of considering possible unintended consequences of new service models.
Declaration of interests
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