Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care



INSPYRE Increasing Social Prescribing Youth Referrals 

Since 2018, Social Prescribing (SP) has been rolled out nationally by NHS England in one of the most radical new programmes introduced to the NHS since its inception. SP focuses on connecting people to non-medical forms of support within the community including skills development and training programmes, peer support and befriending schemes, and social, cultural and community activities to empower individuals and address social determinants of ill health. The NHS Long Term Plan outlines that SP will be an “all-age model, from maternity and childhood through to end of life”, but unfortunately many children and young people (CYP) are not engaging in SP and the evidence base for this population is in its infancy. Therefore, the INSPYRE project will further develop existing knowledge and practice by facilitating a new SP care pathway within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Currently, many CYP referred to CAMHS face long waiting lists, during which time over three quarters experience deterioration in their mental health. INSPYRE will offer SP as soon as CYP are placed on waiting lists. It will constitute three phases: Phase 1 will involve co-designing a CAMHS SP pathway for CYP on waiting lists for moderate mental health conditions, including developing protocols, resources, training for the delivery of this pathway, and manualising its development. Phase 2 will involve undertaking an effectiveness-implementation trial to assess (i) the pathway’s potential for supporting CYP, their parents/guardians and CAMHS services, and (ii) its acceptability, suitability, feasibility, uptake, delivery, and cost across sample CAMHS sites in England and Wales. Phase 3 will involve assessing the overall potential for scaling the pathway to more CAMHS sites, developing an implementation model, and disseminating findings to key stakeholders within policy, practice and research. INSPYRE’s goal is to have a fully developed and tested model for embedding SP within CAMHS waiting lists that can be scaled nationally, bringing SP to more CYP who could benefit. This project has the potential to increase SP amongst CYP by offering a new pathway to community activities, enhancing person-centred care, and positively transforming the experiences of CYP on CAMHS waiting lists.

Principal Investigator: Dr Daisy Fancourt
Co-Investigators: Prof Jess Deighton, Professor of Child Mental Health and Wellbeing, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF), Paul Jarvis-Beesley, Head of the Social Prescribing Youth Network and Anne Hunt, National Academy of Social Prescribing
Research Fellows: Dr Daniel Hayes, Dr Alexandra Burton, Dr Feifei Bu
Contact: Dr Daniel Hayes