What is the Single Point of Access (SPOA)?

Young people, parents/carers and professionals have told us for some time that they find it really difficult to know how to get help for children and young people around their emotional wellbeing and mental health. There are lots of services out there and each service has a different referral route. We can imagine this makes things very confusing and difficult to get help so some of the services have come together to look at children and young people’s referrals together. Our hope is that by doing this, children and young people don’t have to tell us their story multiple times and that we can get the child/young person the right help at the right time.

What services are part of it?

At the moment, the three largest commissioned providers in West Sussex providing emotional wellbeing and mental health services are part of the single point of access. These are: The Youth Emotional Support (YES) Service, Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust Child and Adolescent Mental Health services (SPFT CAMHs) and YMCA Dialogue. We hope more services will join us soon.

What other services might I be referred to?

Sometimes, we might decide that a service outside the SPOA is most likely to meet your needs. However, if you would not like to be referred to any of these services, please email us at: [email protected]

The services we may refer you to are listed here:

How can you help me?

The single point of access is a bit like a sorting hub for referrals we receive for children and young people who need help with their emotional wellbeing and mental health. Specially trained staff from our services will look at the information we receive and, based on what we know works for children and young people, decide which service can meet the child or young person’s needs.

The single point of access will not provide assessments or treatment to children and young people. What we can do is make an informed decision about which service in the single point of access (YES, SPFT CAMHS, YMCA Dialogue) is best placed to offer an assessment and/or treatment. Sometimes we might decide a different service that isn’t in the single point of access is better placed to meet a child or young person’s needs and, in that situation, we will signpost to that service.

What is a referral form for SPOA?

A referral form asks you a few questions so we can find out more about you and the help or support you are looking for.

How long will it take to complete the referral form?

The SPOA referral form takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

What happens after I submit a referral?

Our team of specially trained staff look at the referrals we receive on a daily basis. We read through all of the information we have received, along with any information we already have available on our systems about the child/young person and discuss as a team which service is best placed to meet the child or young person’s needs. We aim to let you know within 72 hours what decision we have made, or whether we need more information.

Who can be referred to the Single Point of Access?

Children and young people who are aged 4-17 (referrals accepted up until a young person’s 18th birthday) who live and/or have a GP in West Sussex who are struggling with their emotional wellbeing and mental health can be referred.

If you are 18 or over, please follow this link to access help and support around mental health:


If you live and/or have a GP in Brighton and Hove you may be eligible to access the Brighton and Hove wellbeing service:


What happens if I disagree with the decision the Single Point of Access has made?

We will try our best to make the right decision for children and young people and will be basing our decision off current and any relevant historic information. We will also make decisions based on what research says works best for children and young people who are struggling with their emotional wellbeing and mental health. If you disagree with a decision we have made you can contact [email protected]

What if I need help right now?

The single point of access is not an emergency service so we will be unable to help any child, young person or family in a crisis. If you are unable to keep yourself safe and need help right now please contact the below services/helplines:

If you live in Sussex, and need urgent mental health support, call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0800 0309 500 - they offer crisis care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are seriously injured or at immediate risk of harm, you can go to any hospital A&E department and ask for help. You can also call 999 and ask for an emergency service if you need to.

Is there support for parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities?

If you are a parent of a child or young person with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, you can find support for yourself at Reaching Families, by clicking here. Or you can contact the West Sussex Parent Carer Forum by clicking here.

Who will see my information and is it kept safe?

We take your confidentiality very seriously and will only share your information on a need to know basis. So that we can make an informed decision about who is best placed to provide support to the child/young person we will be sharing your information between the YES service, YMCA Dialogue and SPFT CAMHS. If we are worried about a child or young person’s safety we may also make a decision to share your information with any of the following services, we will always aim to speak to you before doing this:

  • Your GP
  • Your parent/carer
  • Your school
  • The integrated front door for children’s services

If you are under 13 we will also require your parent or carer’s consent to refer to the service.

The SPOA referral form is hosted on Typeform, which uses a secure server with end-to-end encryption. Typeform take the security and privacy of user data very seriously and are compliant with existing laws about data privacy and transfer. If you’d like to exercise any of your GDPR rights, you can find more information here.

As per Typeform’s Privacy Policy, ‘The Creator’ (YMCA DownsLink Group and West Sussex SPOA) is responsible for any personal data that is submitted. Typeform only processes this data on the creator’s behalf.

In accordance with The Data Protection Act 2018, any data submitted to SPOA is held securely by YMCA DownsLink Group for 31 days. After 31 days, the data held by YMCA DownsLink Group is permanently deleted from our server.

What if I want to speak to someone in the SPOA to get some help with filling in the form?

If you have any technical difficulties filling in the form please email [email protected].

If you would like to speak to one of our practitioners so they can help you complete the form then please email [email protected] leaving your name and mobile number asking for a call back. We will aim to get back to you as soon as possible.

What if I want to make a complaint or share a compliment?

We hope to provide an excellent and friendly service, however we also want your honest feedback when we haven’t met your expectations so we can put things right. If you would like to make a complaint about one of the services you have been referred to, or the decision that has been made in the hub, here's how you can contact us:

Tel: 0300 304 2198

Email [email protected]

We would of course love to hear about your positive experiences of the single point of access so that we know when we are getting things right. Compliments or positive feedback can be emailed to [email protected]