Building bridges: developing a revised mental health pathway for people aged 16-25

Group of NHS staff

This resource and report summarises key outputs from the work of Janis Griffiths, a Darzi fellow who was co-hosted by Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and the Health Innovation Network in 2023.  

Existing mental health pathways are age-determined, involving a transition of care from child to adult services for young people in need of ongoing support who are approaching 18.  This change is often described as challenging by young people, and current services are not felt to be adaptable to the specific needs of young people. This project focused on developing a proposed model that would facilitate a more needs-led approach.

The model was developed through the following phases of work:


  • Understand

    Understanding the service and the problem via desk-based research and interviews with stakeholders.

  • Prioritise

    Identifying changes to prioritise through interviews with young people and parent/carers, and synthesising this information via mapping techniques.

  • Vision

    Developing model ideas via focus groups, interviews, a co-design workshop and options appraisal.

  • Action

    Making plans to implement a pilot of the model.

  • Sustain

    Planning to sustain the work after the end of the Darzi fellowship.


The ideas gathered through this process culminated in a proposed model which set out a range of changes to the existing pathway which would:

  • Blur the age boundary between the services to get young people to the right treatment more quickly;
  • Improve liaison and joint working between the child and adult mental health teams;
  • Support young people through any change in service, and;
  • Improve the skills across the teams in providing services to young people.

The next steps for the project will be to gather information about demand, confirm that the model remains appropriate to test in light of this data, and plan for implementation and evaluation of a pilot in one borough before rolling out across geographies if the pilot is a success.

Key learnings

  • Dedicate resources to involving young people and families in the process;
  • Use a team approach to develop ideas and foster ownership of the eventual model;
  • Build on existing learning and practice;
  • Capture and share additional learning outside the scope of the project;
  • Allow time for the development of ideas and keep an open mind as to the eventual result.

Download the full report

Read the detailed report to find out more about the project.

Download here

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