EMHPs will assess children, young people and families with a range of mental health problems. This assessment must reflect the child and their family’s perspective and must be conducted with the child’s and family’s needs paramount. The assessment should reflect a shared understanding of the child or young person’s current difficulties and inform how decisions are made with the family about the best next steps for the child and the family. Possible next steps include giving advice and psycho-education, referral to another agency, care within the multidisciplinary CAMHS team (e.g. for medication or formal psychological therapy) or a low intensity intervention (e.g. guided self-help, brief behavioural activation) delivered by the practitioner themselves.
A EMHP practitioner must be able to undertake a child-centred interview which identifies the child’s/ young person’s current difficulties, their goals and those of their family/parents, their strengths and resources and any risk to self or others. They need to understand the child in the context of their family, culture, wider social environment, developmental stage and temperament. They need to engage the child or young person and their carer(s) and other family members and to establish therapeutic alliances. They will need to gather appropriate information from different sources, be able to make sense of this and with the family develop a shared understanding. They also need to understand how the child’s difficulties fit within a diagnostic framework, identify other physical, developmental or psychological difficulties (e.g. epilepsy, autistic spectrum disorders, attachment history) and know what evidence-based interventions are likely to be appropriate.
The module will therefore equip the EMHP with a good understanding of the incidence, prevalence and presentation of common mental health problems experienced by children and young people and evidenced-based treatment choices. Skills teaching will develop core competences in active listening, engagement, alliance building, patient-centred information gathering, information giving and shared decision-making. The module will develop the EMHPs competency in assess and identify areas of difficulty (including risk) and establish main areas for change, establish and maintain a working therapeutic alliance and engaging the child/young person/family to support them in self-management of recovery, Identify and differentiate between common mental health problems in CYP, Navigate and signpost to appropriate interventions and use routine outcome measures and standardised assessment tools effectively as part of the assessment and engagement process.