The Mental Health Foundation Scotland, alongside the University of Strathclyde, has been appointed as the evaluation and learning partners for a programme of work funded by Barnardo’s.
This piece of work addresses mental health and wellbeing in children and young people in three locations across the UK (North Tyneside, Renfrewshire, and South Eastern Trust, Northern Ireland).
Through this programme, Barnardo’s aims to redesign services for children and young people and support the transformation of whole systems in local areas, primarily through encouraging new ways of working.
These include working collaboratively with various partners from health, education, local government, the third sector, and with children, young people, and families in what Barnardo’s have called ‘strategic partnerships’.
This work aims to transform systems to focus on early intervention and prevention so that the risk factors influencing children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing are minimised, and their resilience maximised.
The first stage of our evaluation work involved speaking to those closely involved in creating the strategic partnerships to understand how those have been developed, what they aim to achieve in each of the local contexts, and how they have engaged with young children people, and parents.
We are currently nearing the second stage of the evaluation, in which we have explored the work of the partnerships over the last 18 months and learned about the barriers and enablers to systems change that have emerged across each of the partnerships. The Phase 2 evaluation report will be available in December 2022.
We are also currently planning the next phase of the evaluation. In Phase 3, we hope to engage more closely with children, young people, and families to help us to design, conduct and disseminate our evaluation work. We will also explore what systems change means and look like for young people by conducting peer research with those with lived experience in service provision settings. Moreover, a large part of our work in Phase 3 will involve engaging closely with those steering the strategic partnerships to ensure that emerging findings of the evaluation inform practice.