NHS England has announced six pilot sites across the country to drive the design of new approaches to delivering young people's mental health services.

This follows news earlier in the week that young women are the highest risk group in England for mental health problems.

The new sites will be tasked with reducing psychiatric hospital admissions and time spent in hospital, putting an end to the practice of adults and young people with mental health problems being sent for in-patient treatment miles away from home.

The pilot sites, made up of NHS mental health trusts, independent sector and charitable organisations will work together, sharing a local budget, to effectively reorganise services in their area.

Two of the six pilot sites will step up the level of crisis care available in the community for children and young people to prevent them from needing to be admitted to hospital, freeing up local hospital beds.

The other four sites will look at re-locating people in secure mental health services closer to home as well as addressing their surrounding social care needs so they can leave inpatient care and re-integrate into the community as quickly as possible.

NHS England's national director for Mental Health, Claire Murdoch, said: "This marks another step in implementing the Mental Health Five Year Forward View. Today's action will help ensure that patients are treated as close to home as possible, and help reduce the need to send some of our most vulnerable people miles across the country to receive vital treatment."

High risk in young women

Research published earlier this week showed that young women had the highest risk of mental health disorders. The most recent National Study of Health and Wellbeing showed that one in five women and one in eight men reported a common mental disorder such as anxiety or depression in 2014, while young women in particular also have high rates of self-harm, post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorders.

Professor Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Whilst these figures might seem alarming, they are hopefully indicative of reducing stigma associated with mental health in society, and that more people with mental health conditions are seeking medical assistance.

 "As we continue to strive towards ensuring parity of esteem for patients with mental and physical health conditions, they could also indicate better identification and diagnosis of mental health conditions across healthcare.

"The figures drive home the need for more mental health services in the community, and for GPs and our teams to have better, easier and quicker access to these, in the best interests of our patients."