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Putting children and young people in control of their mental health care

A new programme has launched to help community and inpatient Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) will involve children and young people in decisions about their care, treatment and support.

The Promoting Active Choice Together (PACT) programme has received £106,800 in new funding and is being led by Common Room Consulting in collaboration with the Anna Freud Centre's Evidenced Based Practice Unit.

The aim is to work in collaboration with children and young people to develop an innovative new range of training and online resources to support shared decision making between children, young people and mental health practitioners.

Kate Martin, Director of Common Room said: “We know that involving young people in decisions about their own care is the key to improving outcomes and providing the best possible help and support. This project will enable mental health practitioners and services to build on their existing skills and expertise to embed shared decision making in their practice.”

Resources will include:

  • PACT model of Shared Decision Making: We will work with young people and CAMHS practitioners to refine a model of decision making for CAMHS that will provide a practical framework for CAMHS practitioners to apply and evaluate decision-making in their clinical practice.
  • PACT masterclass: The one-day master class, with a follow-up half-day embedding session will be co-delivered with young people and designed to build on attendees’ existing skills and expertise, support them to apply the PACT model by working through examples from their own clinical practice, and utilise quality improvement techniques to enable CAMHS professionals to embed decision-making in their practice. This will be delivered in-house to multidisciplinary CAMHS teams to ensure this addresses the service context and becomes embedded in practice at individual/team levels.
  • PACT Online educational platform and resource hub: We will develop a new online educational resource, the first devoted to decision-making in CAMHS, that will host: an interactive version of the PACT model to enable practitioners to apply this to their practice, a resource hub to enable healthcare professionals to share best practice tools and resources, and practice examples sourced from a variety of CAMHS modalities and focusing on a range of decision types.

The programme is funded by the Department of Health and Health Education England, through its children and young people mental health innovation fund.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Schemes such as this represent another step in fulfilling our promise to establish genuine parity between mental and physical health. We want to end the taboo around mental health – funding local innovations such as Addaction’s vital training is the best way to make this a reality and help more young people than ever before.”

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of Education and Quality at Health Education England added: “We are excited by this initiative as it will provide an ideal opportunity to introduce and enhance services to transform the lives of children and young people. This additional funding means that children, young people and their families can get the tailored support they need through the delivery of improved, more accessible mental health and wellbeing services to ensure they are not only well-supported, but thrive, which will transform the care and lives of many across the country. ”