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Children and Young People- Mental Health (CYP-MH)

The University of Northumbria is one of a small number of Higher Education Institutes providing a suite of programmes concerned with CYP-MH. This was formally known as Children and Young People – Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (CYP-IAPT), a national initiative that recognised the need for a transformation in services providing support for meeting challenges apparent in children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. These challenges included the knowledge that a significant proportion of mental health problems develop before 18 years of age, there was variability in provision of services, there was inadequate liaison between health care providers and other services in the community, (for example schools, local authorities, third sector organisations) and there was a lack of understanding about how to access help and deal with delay in accessing appropriate treatment for mental health issues. Importantly, this was not just about improving existing services for children and young people, for example Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services delivered primarily through NHS trusts (CAMHs), but about transformation so that all services including those in the community working with children and young people could better provide help, support and treatment.    

CYP-IAPT aimed to embed ways of working in existing services through five key principles: and these remain at the core of CYP-MH programmes.  

Participation: Ensuring CYP and their families/carers have an active role in treatment and services 

Accountability: Collecting data about outcomes to develop effectiveness of services and interventions 

Accessibility: Improving access and engagement with services for CYP 

Evidence-Based Practice: Implementing evidence-based therapies and care pathways  

Awareness: Increasing public understanding of emotional wellbeing and decreasing stigma and discrimination  

The CYP-IAPT transformation programme has been operational since 2012 in the North East, Yorkshire and Humber (NE Y&H). The CYP-IAPT programmes comprised of three core components – leadership, supervisor and practitioner training. These have been delivered as whole service training on the use of outcome measures. Initially the training modalities were Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Systemic Family Practice, but the current suite of programmes includes Children Wellbeing Practitioner, Education Mental Health Practitioner, Enhanced Evidence Based Practice, Parenting, Leadership, and Supervision. Systemic Family Practice can be delivered with an emphasis on Conduct Disorders or eating disorders. Other programmes are available subject to demand within the region (for example Learning Disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorder, IPT-A, Counselling, 0–5 year olds).  

Since 2012, Northumbria has seen 703 students successfully complete programmes across CYP-MH. Most of these courses operate at Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma level, although in very small yet appropriate circumstances students might qualify at level 6, that is, UG degree level.  

Currently, for most of the suite of programmes training is funded by Health Education England and students are employed by services working with CYP-MH. This means that students work part of the week within an organisation with children and young people under appropriate supervision and attend university for part of the week to access theoretical and clinical skills-based education for their qualification. Part of the rationale for this model is to increase the number of people working within CYP-MH. A significant number of students will be employed by the organisation they did their training with for at least one year after receiving the academic qualification.  

The core academic team teaching on the CYP-MH programmes at Northumbria are all highly experienced and qualified therapists and remain engaged in clinical practice in order to maintain their clinical accreditation and reputation. Members of the team have extensive professional networks within and across services in the Northern region and nationally. The team is augmented by a 'Community of Practice' which has been developed over the past nine years, whereby the core programme team can draw upon a range of external expertise in the form of Consultants and Associate Lecturers. This approach to delivery of the programmes ensures that students are taught by and have access to a range of accredited practitioners with excellent regional and national reputation.  

In line with the transformatory principles of CYP-MH staff are committed to undertaking research and up-to-date clinical evidence and research are embedded in all programmes. 

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