It is increasingly important to CORC that young people are not just the 'researched upon', when thinking about youth mental health, but that they are involved in the work and research that we do at every level and stage of the organisation. We want to bring together the people who provide mental health support, the people who use it, and the people who research it, so that together we can move mental health research forward. 

Watch our YouTube Live Chat Series which is particularly focusing on involving young people in CORC! In the latest video, we explore some of the big issues with young people and talk about what the next steps for involving young people in CORC could be.

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We have looked at some of the big questions that young people ask us. There are three important areas:

Having honest conversations about treatment outcomes

Do mental health services really work? 

In treatment outcomes we talk a lot about getting ‘better’ but what does that mean? Is your treatment helping? Are your symptoms getting better? Are you and your therapists making progress towards your goals? This infographic report looks at different ideas about what ‘better’ may mean in treatment outcomes and presents research data exploring how much ‘better’ young people are when they have finished getting help from mental health services.

Click to see infographic

How do I know if I'm progressing? How can you tell? 

After looking at how life is going for you, you might find some things you want to change. These are your therapy 'goals'. Goals should include what you think is important, what your parents/carers think is important and what needs to happen to keep you safe and well. Services are there to help you, so don't be afraid to ask questions and talk about what matters to you. It is important to be honest when talking.

These questions should help you to see if what you're doing is working. Mental health professionals will help you track your progress and goals, often with questionnaires. 

  • If you are sectioned, you have the right for your section to be reviewed regularly. 
  • Remember you have a right to complain if you think someone is doing something wrong. 
  • if you don't think things are getting better, you can talk about trying a new treatment. 
  • It is ok to change your goals.

However, you might not feel like you are making progress with your mental health professional and you might not know what to do when this happens. This is very common amongst young people. In the video below Roslyn Law, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF) explores these issues and different options which may be available to you at that time.

All you need to know about making progress

How do you know when to stop treatment or therapy?

When you first started treatment, you may have agreed on a timeline of when treatment would finish. Treatment can go on for longer, depending on your needs (you may also 'transition' to adult services if you would like support after your 18th birthday). Your therapists will say when they think your treatment should end, but this decision should include your views and your parents'/carers' views. Ending treatment should be shared decision that everyone is prepared for. Especially since moving on from therapy can be a challenging time for a young person. Maybe you have been seeing your therapist for a while and built up a close relationship with them or perhaps you worry about what will happen after your therapy finishes.

Your progress should be monitored to help decide when treatment will end. This might be done by repeating the questions you were asked at the start of your treatment to see how your answers have changes. When you  then finally finish treatment you should have the chance to give feedback on your overall experience. This won't affect your care, but it will help the service to learn and improve for other young people who use these services in the future. 

Katherine Mautner, Senior Clinician at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF) explores this time for young people; the process, options afterwards and how your therapist can help you with this time.

All you need to know about ending treatment

What can I expect from my mental health service?

If your care is person-centred, these are the kind of questions that should be explored with you throughout your time receiving help and support.

What can I do to help myself?

  • Think about what's going on for you - what you would like to work on or be able to do differently. You could talk about this with an adult you trust. 
  • If you have an appointment with a mental health service, you can contact them to find out more about what will happen. 
  • Sometimes waiting lists can be long, so you can try some things to look after yourself in the meantime, such as self-care or using support lines. 
  • Contact your GP and school so they understand what is happening. 
  • Learn about the rights and guidelines that protect you. This way you can make sure you are always getting proper care.

Get the whole guide here

Working with outcome and feedback measures

What are outcome and feedback measures? 

Outcome measures are ways for measuring or recording the change of your mental health and wellbeing and are used to try and understand the impact of the treatment or intervention that you are receiving. They are usually in the form of a questionnaire and can be filled in by either you, your parents or carers, practitioners or your teachers.

Feedback measures on the other hand are usually questionnaires which record your experience of the service or session you are attending. 

The short animation below explains what an outcome measure is and how it might be used in children and young people’s mental health services. 


What would a good outcome look like for you in your treatment or therapy? 

This is a tricky question as there may be many different people involved in your care; you, the clinician, your parents, your teacher who all have different ideas about what a ‘good outcome’ might look like. In the blog below Karolin Krause, PHD Candidate at the Evidence Based Practice Unit (EBPU) writes about a workshop which explores this question and the different areas of discussion it opens up for us.

Read the blog here

The blog was also depicted in the illustration below:

In a nutshell, outcome measures:

  • Help you and your therapist to better understand your situation. 

  • Allow you to share your experience during treatment. 

  • Let someone know how much the support you are receiving is helping. 

  • Enable changes to your support and treatment. 

  • Help improve services for others.

Is this just another tick-box exercise?

How do young people experience outcome measures? Are they helpful? How are they understood by young people? The summary below outlines the results of an online and paper survey carried out by Leeds CAMHS exploring young people and their carers’ experiences of outcome measures.

Click here to read

Taking a broader perspective about what mental health care is

Who gets help from services?

What should mental health care look like? The therapy room? Or should we take a broader perspective? MH2K, a new model funded by the Wellcome Trust for engaging Citizen Researchers in conversations about mental health in their area explored this question and asked young people What would a mentally healthy area look like? Their recommendations illustrate that many different areas have a role to play in mental health including schools, colleges, universities, families, social media as well as mental health services. Clink on the link below to find out more about this exciting project.

Learn more about MH2K

What else could help me, and how can I tell if my own self-care actually makes a difference to my mental health? 

Humans have been doing things to support their own mental health for forever. And yet, because of imbalances within the academic community and the mental health profession this never gets talked about! In fact, there is barely any large scale research into what people can do to help themselves and which approaches work for whom. 

The role of self- care for our wellbeing is explored by the McPin Foundation. The McPin foundation is an organisation which seeks to transform mental health research by putting the lived experience of people affected by mental health problems at the heart of research.

Read this article of what role self-care should play

Below is also an infographic show the journey of how the McPin Foundation get to the Top 10 most pressing, unanswered questions about children and young people’s mental health:

Our partners at EBPU mapped out our projects & plans against 's young people's 10 Mental Health Research Priorities:

Read the blog here

Below is also an infographic reviewing research literature on different self-care methods. Often this is an area under researched and we are really interested in developing our knowledge base on different self-care approaches YOU may use:

Here is also a list of different self-care strategies you may want to explore to help your wellbeing:

Self-care strategies