Thriving Plus was created by mental health professionals based at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, in collaboration with the National i-THRIVE Programme Team.
In the context of coronavirus (COVID-19), the resources available advising children, young people (CYP) and their families on ways to manage their mental health and wellbeing can feel overwhelming. The spread of the COVID-19 has not only influenced the way we manage our lives on a day to day basis, but also how we interact with services and access help and support.
Through informal conversation with colleagues, it became apparent that it can be challenging to manage the competing demands of spending more time at home looking after family and friends, alongside looking after one’s own mental health and wellbeing. It was felt that there was an exponential influx of advice and guidance from numerous sources about the pandemic itself and offering ways to support ourselves and others during this time, and that the impact of this could be detrimental to families’ sense of control and overall wellbeing.
‘Thriving Plus’ was conceptualised within the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s (TPFT) website developed in partnership with the TPFT, the London Borough of Camden, and the other boroughs within the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) of North Central London (NCL) to make it easy for families to find mental health and wellbeing resources that might be useful to them through these challenging times.
Image 1: The THRIVE Framework for system change (Wolpert et al., 2019) – needs based groupings
The project team, consisting of members of the National i-THRIVE Programme Team and other mental health professionals based at the TPFT worked together to identify resources which were already being circulated within individual teams, carefully scrutinising each resource to ensure quality assurance. This process prevented duplication of resources on the webpage, and ensured that all came from reputable sources.
The page contains reliable and vetted content, which is continuously updated as new resources emerge. It includes information, videos, activities for children, advice for parents/carers, and Government guidance. Staff working within the Trust and STP are familiarising themselves with the resources available to signpost service users as appropriate.
Aligning with the THRIVE Framework for System Change (Wolpert et al., 2019)
The content has been mapped in accordance to the five needs based groupings of the THRIVE Framework, with the resources being grouped on dedicated pages according to the needs based groupings (image 1). The groupings help organise the different options that are available depending to support shared decision making regarding what the CYP and their families feel would be most helpful.
A dual benefit of mapping the resources according to needs based grouping was the promotion of adopting a shared language when talking about health and wellbeing needs, and particularly in orienting people to using the framework as a model of need.
Examples of resources provided
- A Kid’s guide to understanding and handling change: A resource explaining expected and unexpected change and how children and young people might manage them safely. This also discusses others’ reactions to changes, and the consequences of people might decide to accept change or not.
- My Pandemic Story: A guided activity workbook to support children and young people’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is described as, “A simple and straightforward guide that encourages mental health, creative expression, learning and coping. Use it to help children, teenagers and families overcome and go beyond bad memories and fears.”
Getting Advice and Signposting
- Preparing in a trauma-informed way: 8 succinct tips for preparing for Covid-19 in a trauma informed way. Also included is a link to advice from Childline.
- 75 Awesome Calm Down Strategies for kids (that they’ll want to try!): 75 easy and fun evidence-based strategies to help to calm kids down and develop strong emotional regulation skills.
Image 2: ‘Getting Advice and Signposting’ page within Thriving Plus
- Building Relationships to Stronger Families: Triple P Family Transitions: Information on a programme available for separated parents, which provides an overview of the challenges that parents face while making the transition through separation and how to support your child – this offers 7 sessions.
- ‘Catch It’ App: Learn how to manage feelings like anxiety and depression with Catch It. The app teaches you how to look at problems in a different way, turn negative thoughts into positive ones and improve your mental wellbeing
Getting More Help
- Mental Health Camden: A website detailing the mental health and wellbeing services available in Camden for children and young people. Support avenues include stress, depression, anxiety, making connections, risk support and advice on advocacy.
Getting Risk Support
- Our Services – ‘Open Minded’: Self-referral form for the CAMHS service; ‘Open Minded’, offered within Camden for children and young people up to the age of 18. Self-referrals are accepted and we also accept referrals from GPs and other professionals such as health visitors and school nurses.
‘Thriving Plus’ – an intervention
Following the launch of Thriving Plus it became evident that it could serve the dual purpose of being a resource, and also an intervention tool with referred CYP and their families. The Camden Clinical Intake Team have been using it to facilitate Advice and Signposting sessions with CYP and their families who have presented with mild difficulties.
This can be illustrated by the case of an 11 year old girl screened by the team for a recent onset of anxiety and behavioural difficulties during COVID-19 lockdown. Through shared decision making the family chose to be directed to resources on Thriving Plus to support their self-management. During a follow-up session the family were supported to navigate the webpage and through a collaborative conversation gained an understanding of the different help and support options available to best meet their needs and improve their outcomes through the use of self-management resources.
The family fed back that it was helpful to talk through their difficulties and worries with professionals, and receive considered advice and tools specific to their needs that they could use as necessary, and refer back to if needed. They also stated that having Thriving Plus as a “refined and vetted resource bank” was valuable and something they would continue to refer to over time.
As well as this example, the webpage has been circulated internally and externally and has received positive feedback from parents and carers, and practitioners, and has also received suggestions to inform further development:
“This resource was quite helpful and displayed in an easy way to access. A nice change as there is too much information on other websites”
“Looks really clean and easy to access”
“…. All 5 of my children are at home so things that I can recognise quickly will be helpful. It’s a really good list. I’m going to share it with my friends.”
At present, Thriving Plus has received over 3,800 webpage views, with an average time of 90 seconds being spent on the page. Resources within the ‘Thriving’ and ‘Getting Advice and Signposting’ subpages have had the most visits, with around 2 minutes being spent on each page accordingly.
Thriving Plus continues to be updated, adapting to include the latest governmental guidance and changing trends. It continues to be a collaborative resource, containing input from across different services and organisation within NCL, with the primary aim of supporting service users who live within this area.
We would welcome any feedback about Thriving Plus. Please do visit the site and fill out the short survey which can be found on each page. We are hoping the pages will be helpful to service users, parents/carers and professionals, so any feedback at all is welcome and appreciated. Visit the section now on the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust website.
For more information about Thriving Plus, please contact Neelam Solanki; Assistant Psychologist within the National i-THRIVE Programme Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Edited by the National i-THRIVE Programme Team.
Written August 2020.