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Children and young people's mental health

We aim to increase 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 NHS 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:

In November 2022 NHS England commissioned Anna Freud, in partnership with Charlie Waller Trust and the National Children’s Bureau to develop and deliver mental health training for the wider children’s workforce in three pilot areas. The intention was to design and test the impact of  training that positioned mental wellbeing as “everyone’s business”.

To maximise the role that those in the wider children’s workforce can play in supporting the mental health of children, young people and their families training was developed through an iterative process of participation and feedback.

Through evaluation, we understand participants expressed a number of motivating factors that encouraged them to take part in the training. This was mainly linked to improve their overall knowledge and to learn how to better communicate with children and young people and their families. The training itself helped solidify a lot of their previous learning and helped enhance their practice with their confidence in their ability to support children and young people with their mental health and wellbeing substantially improved.

- NHS England Wider Workforce Mental Health Training Evaluation Report (.pdf)

- NHS England Wider Workforce Mental Health Training Evaluation Report (.docx)

We 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 2022. The CYPMH workforce report highlights a 5% increase in whole time equivalent (WTE) in CYPMH staff since 2021.   

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 2021 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 meet accessibility requirements, you can also download this version of the report 2022 CYPMH workforce accessible report

An accessible version of the 2021 report is also available here 2021 CYPMH workforce accessible report

Children and Young People Mental Health Inpatient Competence Framework

We were 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.  

Children and Young People’s Mental Health inpatient workforce development, Strategic Framework 

We, along with NHSE, NWSDU and Experts by Experience, have launched a new strategic framework. 

This framework outlines the vision for the children and young peoples’ mental health inpatient services workforce and sets out clearly how that vision can be achieved by developing a sustainable and consistent approach.  

Due to necessary regional and local variations, allowing inpatient services to meet the needs of their own communities, the framework does not offer a one-size-fits-all model, nor does it prescribe specific staffing numbers. However, HEE is urging the local health systems to understand, advocate and implement essential system-wide recommendations to develop their children and young people mental health inpatient workforce. 

The recommendations outlined in the framework focus on improving and integrating, including how we recruit, train, develop, retain and support our valuable inpatient workforce to collaborate to ensure the children and young people receive the mental health care they deserve. 

Click here to view the framework

Click here to view an accessible Word version of the framework

Healthcare Support Worker Certificate – Children and young people’s mental health inpatient services 

We have now made available a new Healthcare Support Worker Certificate for support staff working in children and young peoples’ mental health inpatient services. 

The undertaking of the certificate is mandatory for all support staff working in children and young peoples’ mental health services and was created following the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan and the establishment of the National Quality Improvement Taskforce.  

The Healthcare Support Worker Certificate is the first bespoke training package designed for this staff group. The intended outcome is to improve the quality of care delivered to children and young people in mental health inpatient units across the country. Other possible benefits could include, improved staff morale, motivation, retention, recruitment and satisfaction at work as well as supporting the career development of Health Care Support Workers. 

For more information and to enrol on the certificate, visit the elearning for healthcare website.

Commissioned training for children and young people’s inpatient services  

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.

Updated 24 March 2023

We have been working with NHS England and the British Psychological Society (BPS) and British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) to develop Standards for Accreditation for Education Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP) and Children’s Wellbeing Practitioner (CWP) training programmes, so that Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that have been commissioned by HEE to deliver these courses, which are aligned with the national training curricula, can apply for course accreditation via the BPS. 

The list of training providers and courses outlines the cohorts which will be covered by a 'grandparenting' approach for training cohorts that commenced before January 2023, as agreed between HEE and the BPS, meaning that practitioners who successfully completed courses on this list will be able to apply for individual registration with BPS and BABCP launching in 2023.

There will be a route for practitioners working as CWPs who have successfully completed HEE commissioned training programmes which are not included on the list above, which pre-dated the national CWP training curriculum, so that they can be supported to access the registers in future. 

List of HEE Quality Assured EMHP and CWP training cohorts eligible for individual registration. The BPS is the accrediting body for EMHP and CWP training from January 2023 onwards. EMHP and CWP cohorts that completed their training after January 2023 will find their course, once accredited, on the BPS accredited course search. Access the detailed report 

Further information about individual registration for EMHPs and CWPs can be found below:

BPS: Wider Psychological Workforce Registration

BABCP: About Wellbeing Practitioner Registration


We 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 training

Inpatient CAMHS CYP whole team training specification

EMHP training curriculum

Senior Wellbeing Practitioner training curriculum

CWP Diploma

YIPP 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


Young Black Men Crisis Tools Guides

Building on the success of the core Crisis Tools launched in August 2021, HEE has worked with Healthy Teen Minds in partnership with 42nd Street, working with young people with lived experience, to launch an extension of Crisis Tools – Guides Supporting Young Black Men.

The 4 Crisis Tools Guides Supporting Young Black Men are:

Barriers to access

What we need crisis services and practitioners to know 

Understanding our perspective 

Top tips from young Black men 

When engaging with young people to develop the core Crisis Tools, we identified that staff need greater awareness of how best to support young Black men accessing mental health services. These Crisis Tools provide guidance on how to best support young Black men and will help you to listen to and understand their perspectives.

Each of the 4 guides take approximately 15 minutes to complete, focuses on sharing young people’s experiences of barriers and discrimination and what can be most helpful in offering support during a mental health crisis.


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.