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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
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Your Journey through Solar

The Start

Solar is a specialist service for young people that are having mental health difficulties. There are a number of ways that a referral can be made into the service in order to get the help that you might need. These include:

  • Self-referrals,
  • Family or carer referrals,
  • Talking to your GP (family doctor).

You could also talk to a:

  • Health Visitor,
  • Social Worker,
  • Paediatrician (Specialist Children’s Doctor),
  • Education Psychologist or Welfare Officer,
  • School Health Advisor.

Once Solar receives you referral it will be screened to see if we are the best service to offer the support/help. If so, we will contact you to give you an initial appointment, which we call a 'choice appointment'. 

If we are not the best service to offer support, we will contact the referrer and direct you to the appropriate service. Either way, we will make contact so that you are aware of what is happening.

Your First Appointment

When you come for your first appointment, you will be seen by a member of the Solar team. 

You will be given the option (dependent on your age) to either be seen with your parents/carer/family member, on your own, or both, depending on which is the best option for you and which option enables the Solar staff to gain as much information as possible about what is going on. Don't worry about whichever option is selected - it is important that everyone feels comfortable and able to talk openly about what worries they have.

Your first appointment usually takes about an hour. This is called a 'Choice Appointment'. If you are offered more appointments, they usually don’t take any longer than 45 - 60 minutes.

The Assessment

When you have had your first appointment, we may need more information to help us decide what we can do to support you. This may mean speaking to teachers at school or other people who are known to you. We would always discuss this with you first. Sometimes we need to carry out further assessments and may have to ask another member of the Solar team to help. Don’t worry if this happens, it just gives you and us a better understanding of what is happening for you.

When we have all the information we need, we will talk to you about it and decide together whether we can help. If we decide Solar is the best service to help you, we will work together on a plan. This will be called  your care plan.


We offer lots of different types of treatments which include mostly talking, but also play, art and sometimes medication. Your family or carers will usually be part of the treatment plan and you will need to work together in between visits to Solar.


To help with whatever is causing you difficulties, the SOLAR service can offer a number of interventions, therapies and approaches. The options available will be discussed and agreed so that there is a clear plan to work from. This will be captured in what we call a ‘care plan’, which you will be given a copy of along with the relevant people you want to have one.

Leaving Solar 

When you are getting ready to move on from SOLAR, we will work with you to make sure you feel comfortable about your next steps. To help with this discharge/transition, we will ask you to complete a short questionnaire in order to help us identify any aspects that we may have missed so that we can improve the service for those who follow. If you are going to another service, we will work closely with that service for a while to make sure the change is smooth and you feel supported.

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