NHS England Chair hails Birmingham’s new 0-25s mental health service

Chair of NHS England Sir Malcolm Grant, has heaped praised on the city’s new 0-25s mental health service, Forward Thinking Birmingham.
During a recent visit to Pause, Forward Thinking Birmingham’s Digbeth-based drop-in centre, Sir Malcolm met with medical staff, counsellors and volunteers to discuss the recent launch of the revolutionary new service. He was also greeted by Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive Officer of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Rob Willoughby, Area Director of the Children’s Society.
Forward Thinking Birmingham is an expert mental health partnership between Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, Beacon UK, The Children’s Society and the Priory Group. Launched on 1 April this year, Forward Thinking Birmingham is the first service of its kind in the UK and aims to improve mental health access and support for children, young people and young adults in Birmingham. It offers a single point of access for referrals (including self-referrals) and 24-hour crisis support and advice, as well as the informal drop-in service at Pause.
Pause was designed by and for children, young people and young adults, who requested more informal support for mental health issues. The drop-in centre, run by The Children’s Society, provides a safe and relaxed space for 0-25s to explore their thoughts, feelings and emotions in a friendly setting.
Impressed with how Pause is already making a difference across Birmingham, Sir Malcolm spent time chatting to some of the young people who were involved in choosing the name and location of the centre.
Sir Malcolm commented: “Forward Thinking Birmingham has a clear commitment to the social elements of mental health services as well as the clinical, which is a real breakthrough for parity of esteem.
“It was fantastic to hear how the service is already helping young people and encouraging them to get involved with further development. Seeing a strong focus on early intervention was also very impressive.”
Visitors to Pause can take part in a range of supportive workshops, in addition to gaining information and advice on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues.
Elaine Kirwan, Associate Director of Nursing for Forward Thinking Birmingham, said: “We’re extremely proud of the service we’ve created in Birmingham, which we hope will bring an end to complicated transitions, barriers to access to services and complex service pathways.
“It was a pleasure to welcome Sir Malcolm Grant to Pause. We are trying to do something very different here and the feedback from NHS England so far has been incredibly positive and supportive.”
Sir Malcolm Grant’s visit follows that of Selly Oak MP Steve McCabe, who was impressed by the commitment of Forward Thinking Birmingham staff and young people to improving mental health services in Birmingham.
Pictured from left to right Sir Malcolm Grant, the Chairman of NHS England; two members of our 'Think4Brum' squad Eleanor and Ryan; and Wendy Becker, Non-Executive Director at NHS England.