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The Mental Health Strategy 2012 – 15

The Mental Health Strategy 2012 – 15 highlights the importance of early years in establishing mental wellbeing.  Within the strategy, Child and Adolescent Mental Health is a key change area. 

The strategy emphasises the importance of the early years as a critical period in shaping children’s life chances; reinforcing that secure attachment and competent, confident parenting can be significant protective factors, conferring confidence, resilience and adaptability. It acknowledges that disorganised attachment in infancy has been linked to a number of severe mental health problems experienced in later life. The Mental Health Strategy connects to commitments set out in the Parenting Strategy to focus on work to support parents to be competent and confident in their efforts to build strong attachments with babies and young children. This will build on existing policy and on the day to day activities of midwives, health visitors, nursery teachers and others.

The strategy also acknowledges more could be done for those who are most vulnerable, in particular:

• Responding Better to Conduct Disorders
Commitment 7: In 2012 we will begin the process of a national roll out of Triple P and Incredible Years Parenting programmes to the parents of all 3-4 year olds with severely disruptive behaviour. We will include more information about the delivery of this commitment in our Parenting Strategy which will be published in October 2012.

• Responding Better to Attachment Issues
Commitment 8: We shall make basic infant mental health training more widely available to professionals in the children’s services workforce. We shall also improve access to child psychotherapy (a profession which specialises in parent infant therapeutic work) by investing in a new cohort of trainees to start in 2013.

• Improved support for Looked after Children
Commitment 9: We will work with a range of stakeholders to develop the current specialist CAMHS balanced scorecard to pick up all specialist mental health consultation and referral activity relating to looked after children.

• Learning Disability and CAMHS
Commitment 10: We will work with clinicians in Scotland to identify good models of Learning Disability CAMH service delivery in use in different areas of Scotland or other parts of the UK which could become or lead to prototypes for future testing and evaluation.