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Children and young people's mental health services

HEE is committed to increasing education and training in the children and young people’s mental healthcare (CYP MH) to ensure the workforce has the appropriate knowledge and skills to support early intervention. This is in line with the Long Term Plan priority areas.

We want to support an increase in access to high-quality children and young people’s mental health services, so that by 2023/4 an additional 345,000 children and young people (aged 0-25 years) can access support by NHS-funded mental health services and school-based mental health support teams.

We will meet this commitment through a range of different training programmes, including: 

  • continued workforce growth, through the commissioning of wellbeing practitioners and CYP Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP IAPT) modality training programmes.
  • supporting existing workforce development through upskilling training opportunities, for example Service Leadership training  
  • supporting the implementation of new Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) through the commissioning of Education Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP) training and supervision 
  • supporting initiatives to ensure widening participation in the workforce
  • ensuring workforce development and training for staff in inpatient settings, including development of the CYP MH inpatient competency framework.  

The national benchmarking study of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health (CYPMH) workforce indicates an encouraging trend of growth, particularly in NHS employed staff, where numbers have increased by almost a quarter in the two years from 2016 to 2018, since the last benchmarking report was completed. 

The 2019 report analysed data from 2018 in the following sectors:

- NHS providers

- Local Authorities

- Independent sector providers

- Voluntary sector

- Youth Justice (Youth Offending Teams).

The report shows that the workforce grew by 17%, with the NHS-employed workforce increasing by 23% - both increases in a period covered by the NHS Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. This publication pledged a commitment - backed with additional funding - to ensure better access to NHS mental health community services for children and young people, supported by an increase in specialist, highly skilled staff.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out plans for even greater access to high-quality, evidence-based mental health care and support needed by children and young people, and their families and carers.

Investment and support for the workforce in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) community services has increased in recent years and has resulted in more skilled and experienced staff from CYP inpatient services and into the community.

This has led to a challenge in recruiting staff with the right skills, knowledge and experience to work in their units and services, especially where there is a heavy reliance on bank and/or agency staff and a high staff turnover. Since 2017/18, we have commissioned training providers to deliver the CYP IAPT training; tailored specifically for teams and individuals working within inpatient settings, supporting transformation of existing inpatient services by adopting and adapting team-based training for staff. The training provides assessment and treatment based on best evidence, that is outcomes focussed and co-produced with the client. Further work is underway to support workforce development opportunities for staff working in CYP inpatient services, led by the NHSE/I Quality Taskforce (QTF) and supported by us and our network of regional CYP MH leads working across England.

Core features of the CYP IAPT training for staff working in inpatient services include:

Recognition of the importance of providing a sustained and appropriate therapeutic milieu alongside the delivery of effective formulations that enable therapeutic interventions and approaches in the different settings within the children or young person’s care pathway.

Supporting adoption of a whole team training ethos designed to a standardised national training curriculum, aligned with the CYP IAPT principles: increased participation and co-production, a focus on jointly agreed outcomes, accountability, increased accessibility and evidence-based practice and awareness.

Providing consistency and effectiveness in approaches, methods and interventions delivered in inpatient settings, including group approaches.

Reducing unwarranted variation as much as possible in access, effective treatment modalities, quality comprehensive formulations and patient outcomes in inpatient settings.

Ensuring clinically appropriate lengths of stay.


Frequently asked questions:

Q: Who can attend the training?

A: All clinical staff working within an inpatient context can be put forward for the training

Q: What is the end goal?

A: The core of this initiative is empowering children, young people and their carers to:

Take an active role in decisions about their care.

Engage in shared clinical decision-making.

Establish treatment goals appropriate to them.

Choose the route to health that’s best for them.

Develop active engagement that will build agency and trust.


By participating in service design, understanding and modifying treatment progress via patient rated outcome measures (PROMs), patient rated experience measures (PREMs) and participating in the training of practitioners and managers, the training enhances a sense of agency.

Currently the following organisations are funded centrally by HEE to deliver this training:

south West - University of Exeter

south East - University of Reading

London - Anna Freud Centre via UCL

Midlands - Associate Development Solutions

north West - Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust, via University of Manchester

north East - Associate Development Solutions

Email us to find out more about accessing training opportunities.





HEE has commissioned a number of training programmes, developed by groups of higher education institutes and clinical experts in each field. This series of curricula is in the field of children and young people’s mental health. The initial commissioning for CYP MH (2014/15 onwards) was led by NHSE/I, however, HEE is now the commissioner for all of this training, managed through regional teams. For feedback, queries or the curricula in a different electronic format, please email mentalhealth@hee.nhs.uk

CWP supervision curriculum

CYP IAPT Curriculum

EMHP supervisor curriculum

Inpatient CAMHS CYP whole team training specification

EMHP training curriculum



Find out more about becoming an educational mental health practitioner or a children's wellbeing practitioner.


We Can Talk. We have worked with Healthy Teen Minds to support face to face training for staff in acute trusts on a regional basis, since 2018/19. This training focuses on developing staff confidence and competence working with children and young people in crisis. At the start of the pandemic, we commissioned the team at Healthy Teen Minds (HTM) to produce an online training resource and to date, over 10,000 healthcare staff have accessed this tool. You can read the story here.