The majority of children referred to children and young people’s mental health services (CYPMHS) will present with mixed emotional and behavioural difficulties, but most mental health treatments are developed for single disorders. This means there is a need for research on treatments that are helpful for these mixed difficulties, especially for school-age children.

ChAPTRe and the Evidence Based Practice Unit have received funding from the Kavli Trust to conduct a randomised controlled trial, which aims to evaluate the clinical- and cost-effectiveness of mentalization based treatment (MBT) in improving mental health outcomes for children aged 6–12 with mixed (emotional and behavioural) difficulties.

Three hundred and twenty children will be randomly allocated to MBT (treatment group) or treatment as usual (control group). Outcomes will be assessed halfway through treatment, at the end of treatment, and six months after treatment.

Clinicians and patients will be in CYPMHS within Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust.

Why MBT? 

  • Mentalizing is the ability to understand our own thoughts and feelings and the thoughts and feelings of others. This sounds straightforward but is something that can be hard to do when feelings run high. When we mentalize well, we are better able to manage our strong emotions. 
  • Difficulties with mentalizing are common in children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. If therapy can help address this, it can also lead to better emotion regulation. 
  • MBT is an evidence-based treatment for adults and some adolescents. The adaptation of MBT used in this study is for children aged 6–12 and their carers. It is suitable for a range of different difficulties. 
  • MBT consists of 6–8 sessions, delivered fortnightly. This will be offered to families in their local services.

If you would like to contact the ERiC Study team, please email us on

If you are a parent or carer who has been referred to this page as part of this study, you can read more about how your personal data will be managed:

Chief investigator: Professor Nick Midgley 

Funder: Kavli Trust

Find out more about ChAPTRe

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