1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 - 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder - that is around three children in every class. Over half of all mental ill health starts before the age of fourteen years, and seventy-five per cent has developed by the age of eighteen. Yet, the majority of children who need help are not seen in local child and adolescent mental health services until the age of fifteen. The life chances for these individuals are significantly reduced in terms of their physical health, their educational and employment prospects, and even their mortality. Not only do children's mental health problems create distress for the individual and all those who care for them, but also create wider social costs during childhood and into adulthood with growing severity, if left untreated. Children and young people can wait years for the mental health care they need.
In response to this gap in care in Cambridge, experienced leaders from the NHS, Local Authority, and the Academic sector have joined together to establish the not-for profit social enterprise, Cambridge Family Social Enterprise Ltd. (CFSE). CFSE is funded by grants, social investment, schools and other organisations wanting a bespoke, evidence-based, early intervention mental health service for children and teenagers of school age.
Dr Ayla Humphrey, Clinical Psychologist, Director explains "We provide help to school age children and teenagers with emerging difficulties such as anxiety and depression as soon as they need this help. We work in the community so that it is easy for those that need us to find us". Whether you are a young person, a parent, a school, or a GP Practice looking for in-house mental health services, CFSE works in partnership to design a package of support that fits.
Jane Ryder Richardson, Educational Psychologist, Director said "We use outcome measures and regular reviews to check that the care we offer is meeting the need. If not, we think again with our partners and service users about our approach. Our packages include several components that can be purchased together or separately. These include one-to-one psychological therapy with the young person, group therapy for young people with similar difficulties, family and parenting work, training and supervision for professionals, assessments of mental health and development, and mental health assessments of carers".
Dr Caroline Lea Cox, GP, Director said "We bring together qualified and experienced Psychologists, Paediatricians, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational/Physiotherapists because we know that children and families may have related needs that must be considered as a whole and without referral between teams. Our professionals work within professional guidance and best practice as laid out by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence".
Cambridge Family Social Enterprise is a Company Ltd by Guarantee and was formed in July 2015. The organisation is in the process of also registering as a charitable organisation. CFSE is the parent Company, and the trading 'brand' is Hey!Cambridge. The organisation sends suitably qualified and experienced clinicians (usually psychologists) into schools or other venues to work with children and young people who have been identified as having some kind of mental health difficulty. Our clinicians work with the child, their teachers and their family to identify issues, carry out assessments and provide support, advice and guidance. Hey!Cambridge is nearing the end of a successful piece of pilot work within Kings Hedges Primary School, and now intends to formally launch and scale across Cambridge and Cambridgeshire.
 Green, H., McGinnity, A., Meltzer, H., et al. (2005). Mental health of children and young people in Great Britain 2004. London: Palgrave.
 Murphy M and Fonaghy P (2012) Mental Health problems in children and young people. In: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2012. London: Dept. of Health