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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 2023/24 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.  

Our work:

HEE commissioned the NHS Benchmarking Network to conduct a census of the children and young people’s mental health (CYPMH) workforce across England, as of 31 March 2021. The CYPMH workforce report highlights a 39% increase in whole time equivalent (WTE) in CYPMH staff since 2018.  

The report analysed data across the following CYPMH sectors: 

- NHS Providers 

- Independent Sector 

- Local Authorities 

- Voluntary Sector 

- Youth Offending Teams 

The census provides a profile of the NHS and non-NHS workforce, including:     

- Size of the workforce – headcount and WTE    

- Demographics profiling 

- Discipline and skill mix (community and inpatient)   

- Vacancies 

- Service models     

- Skills and training 

The previous 2019 national benchmarking study of the CYPMH workforce has been used as a baseline to provide a comparison of the sectors and profiles to determine the development of the workforce.   

The census provides evidence to supports progress against the plans set out in the NHS Long Term Plan - which predates rising demand following the COVID-19 pandemic – and commits to ensuring that an additional 345,000 children and young people will be able to access support through mental health services and school or college-based Mental Health Support Teams, by 2023/24.  

To find out more, read HEE’s media release or access the 2021 CYPMH workforce report. To meet accessibility requirements, you can also download this 2021 CYPMH workforce accessible report version

HEE was funded by the NHSE/I Quality Taskforce to commission the development of a competence framework for children and young people’s mental health inpatient services. The competence framework was developed by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, which is a collaboration between the Royal College of Psychiatrists and University College London.

The Children and Young People's Mental Health Inpatient Competence Framework outlines the knowledge, skills, and behaviours required for all staff working in children and young people mental health inpatient settings.  The framework aims to enhance the quality of care experienced by young people and their parents, carers, and families by providing a standardised approach. The framework can be used by everyone in the multidisciplinary team working with children and young people in a mental health inpatient setting.   

If you require this document in an alternative format, please contact mentalhealth@hee.nhs.uk.  

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


Healthy Teen Minds Crisis Tools

Healthy Teen Minds believe young people should have the power to design, shape, and improve all systems that impact their lives, and so do we. 

We have worked with Healthy Teen Minds to develop open access crisis tools online learning by young people for anyone supporting young people in a mental health crisis. During this training, participants will hear directly from young people who have experienced a mental health crisis. 

The crisis tools developed builds on existing training and provide resources to support confidence through awareness of the skills and knowledge required of staff working with young people presenting in mental health crisis in a range of settings. 

The short crisis tools modules we have commissioned are:

- What you need to know

- How to start the conversation

- So you want to talk about risk?

- How to wrap things up


We Can Talk Online Learning Platform

We Can Talk is working to improve the experiences of young people who attend hospital due to their mental health and the staff who support them. Coproduced with young people with lived experience, hospital staff and mental health experts, We Can Talk is working to change the culture of acute hospitals through community building and training.

We have worked with Healthy Teen Minds and We Can Talk 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 COVID-19, we commissioned the Healthy Teen Minds to co-produce the We Can Talk training package to produce an online training resource and to date, over 10,000 healthcare staff have accessed this tool. You can read the story here.