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Young people to visit new ‘one-stop shop’ for mental health treatment options

A pioneering new, digital one-stop shop lists the effective treatment options for young people with a range of mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions, built by experts from the Anna Freud Centre.

Launched today, ‘Understanding treatment options’ is a comprehensive resource, unrivalled in its depth and breadth, that is informed by the latest clinical research and UK medical guidelines. It is tailored specifically for and addressed directly to young people.

Co-produced by clinical professionals and young people themselves, the new webpages give 12–17 year olds (and younger children with adult support) - as well as their parents and carers - a guide to the treatment options that are proven to be most effective. Mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and OCD, as well as neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome, are all part of the new resource.

‘Understanding treatment options’ does not provide medical advice, or a way to diagnose mental health or neurodevelopmental conditions. Instead, it helps to break down barriers for young people in understanding more about their condition and options available for effective support. It also empowers them to make choices and feel informed when discussing their own care.

Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, said: “This new initiative demonstrates the Anna Freud Centre’s ability to bring together evidence-based research, clinical expertise and young people with lived experience, as we deliver on our mission to close the gaps for children’s mental health in science, treatments, services, and access to knowledge.

“Evidence shows that intervening as early as possible is crucial in helping children and young people to thrive. Through working closely with young people with lived experience of mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions, we know there is a real appetite for having more information on treatments – ideally all in one place.

“This new resource will encourage them to seek help where they need it, and also aid discussion with their GP, mental health professionals, family members and supportive friends, thereby leading to better outcomes for each young person.”

‘Understanding treatment options’ consists of webpages for 18 mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions. Each page gives an overview of the condition and describes its symptoms. It also explains to young people - and those supporting them - how to get help, what treatments are effective, how parents and carers might be involved in treatment, and information on transition between youth and adult services.

The pages also provide a key for the evidence available to support the use of specific treatments for each condition, classified as ‘strong evidence’, ‘some evidence’, ‘emerging evidence’, ‘insufficient evidence’, and ‘evidence of ineffectiveness or harm’.

‘Understanding treatment options’ is the final step in the Anna Freud Centre’s On My Mind youth offer, which aims to empower young people to make informed choices about their own mental health and wellbeing. Other elements include how and where to access support, what your rights are, a jargon buster, and how young people can look after their own mental health.

You can access the Anna Freud Centre's new ‘Understanding treatment options’ resources here.

You can find out more about the Anna Freud Centre’s On My Mind offer here.