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Our commitment to improving mental health in the region

Written by: Gemma Wright - 1st April 2022

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to significant investment and made a renewed commitment to improve and widen access to care for children and adults needing mental health support. 

Innovation and technology advances were also highlighted throughout the plan namely “using technology to fundamentally redesign outpatient services over five years”.  The AHSN is uniquely placed to support this ambition through our mission to transform lives through innovation.

2021/22 has seen the AHSN play a key role in the initiation, adoption and spread of significant projects including Focus ADHD, FREED early intervention eating disorders, and the launch of the mental health patient safety network.

FREED (First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders) is a service for 16 to 25-year-olds who have had an eating disorder for three years or less. The AHSNs role in the national programme involves supporting the adoption and spread of FREED which now reaches into every ICS treating over 50 patients.

The Focus ADHD programme uses an objective assessment tool (QbTest) for the assessment of ADHD as a supplement, rather than replacing, conventional clinical examination and subjective assessments and reports. Y&H AHSN have continued to support the role out of this programme which is now in all CAMHS and paediatric services that offer diagnostic ADHD assessments for 6 to 18-year-olds in West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw and by the end of Q1 22/23, Humber Coast and Vale. The assessment had supported the diagnosis of over 360 patients this year.

Our mental health patient safety network launched in June 2021, convening mental health leads from each service provider, ICS leads and local clinicians to introduce our work on reducing restrictive practice in inpatient mental health and learning disability services. The improvement work will continue into 22/23 with six mental health trusts identified to take forward QI projects.

We are committed to increasing the breadth of support we offer to mental health services and using our voice to support this agenda, we are pleased to announce our Mental Health Strategy for 2021 – 2024. Our vision is to improve the mental health of the region by leading transformative innovation in collaboration with our systems and creating sustainable solutions. We will achieve this by focussing on four key themes:

  1. Transformational recovery: working across the system to support mental health services and the workforce following the Covid-19 pandemic.
  2. Children and young people: leading the way with the development, adoption and spread of prevention, diagnosis and treatment innovations.
  3. Innovation – adoption & spread: ensuring innovative solutions to mental health priorities are accessible and widely used across the system.
  4. Y&H AHSN – our approach: the AHSN is a safe and secure environment for our teams, creating a focus on mental wellbeing and raising our profile as an employer of choice within the region.

Working with stakeholders from across the region we will continue to engage and support projects whilst ensuring our organisation supports the mental wellbeing of our staff. We will be sharing updates throughout the coming year via our comms channels.

Please contact Gemma Wright at and Adele Bunch at for further information.