Children and Young People with Mental Health Needs, Autism or Learning Disability - elearning for healthcare
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This programme is in partnership with...
  • Health Education England_New logo 2021
  • London Transformation and Learning Collaborative
  • MindEd_Partnership Logo
  • NHSI-partner
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

About the Children and Young People with Mental Health Needs, Autism or Learning Disability programme

Online resources for staff in acute settings

Healthcare staff in acute care hospital settings have shared that they would like to enhance their confidence and skills to care for children and young people (CYP) with mental health needs, autism or learning disability and their families or carers.

This open access platform is a digital repository, designed to help staff from all professions rapidly access resources to develop their skills and provide them with the tools to improve their confidence. All training resources have been collated, curated or developed to ensure staff can enhance their own clinical skill set, and provide the best possible care to our children and young people.

The majority of resources should take 15 minutes or less to review. Additional “Further Resources folders direct users to extended learning opportunities, including elearning packages hosted in other elfh programmes and policy documents, creating a one-stop-shop for learning needs in these fields. We are continuing to develop this site and more content will be added in the coming weeks. This programme is led by users with healthcare systems, future learners, and experts by experience actively involved in every stage (see the ‘Our approach’ and ‘Co-creation’ sections below).

  • Aim:

    These resources, for both learners and trainers, aim to improve the skills and confidence of colleagues from all professions to safely care for CYP by enabling them to:

    • recognise and care for CYP presenting with mental health needs, autism or learning disability
    • safely plan and manage physical and mental health needs and escalate risk as appropriate
    • communicate effectively with CYP and their families and carers
  • Our approach:


    The programme aim will be achieved through 4 key phases, supported by robust governance and assurance:

    1. Understand

    • Care standards and competency frameworks (for example, Royal College of Nursing/The Nursing and Midwifery Council, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health)
    • In depth interviews and focus group:
      – semi structured interviews with CYP staff in acute care settings
      – 1 hour focus group with RCPCH advisory group
    • Literature review and evidence synthesis:
      – review of literature and horizon scanning

    2. Develop

    • A programme map of the key domains, sub domains and categories that content should be mapped to
    • Curation and co-creation of educational resources for learners, educators and systems onto this elearning for healthcare (elfh) microsite, for care in the emergency department, paediatric wards and other acute settings where children and young people are cared for
    • Engagement and co-development of new materials with experts by experience
    • Open access to elfh Hub

    3. Deliver

    • Dissemination of educational resources at a national level

    4. Refine

    • Implementation of a feedback mechanism, to enable continued refinement
  • Co-creation:

    This programme has been co-created with subject matter experts: those who are ‘experts by experience’, healthcare professionals from across the spectrum of clinical specialities and multiple organisations and agencies who specialise in these areas.

    A ‘Clinical Education Reference Group’ (CERG) provided governance for the programme and met regularly to review plans, comment on development and guided direction. This group was made up of experts from across the UK and the professions involved in caring for CYP with mental health needs, autism or learning disability.

    Where possible we have made every effort to utilise content that is co-produced by those with lived experience. Where this was not possible, we have remained committed to illustrating the service user and carers’ voices, if available.

  • Why terminology matters

    Why term matters

    In keeping with this programme’s values, careful consideration has been given to the use of inclusive language, CYP and parent/carers preferred terminology, and the views of clinical experts in this area.

    However, this programme was developed rapidly by collating pre-existing materials and so we recognise some resources may use language now be considered outdated. We are unable to alter content created externally, but have still chosen to include certain resources where they add value to the programme and enhance the resources available to users.

    This downloadable glossary of terms (PDF, 301KB) shares with our users the rationale behind choices we have made on this programme and we hope it will help you to better understand the nuances.

How to use the Children and Young People with Mental Health Needs, Autism or Learning Disability programme

Step 1: explore the multimedia resources using this flow chart as a guide and to see the overarching folder structures / programme map

Step 2: share any new resources or feedback with our team at

Step 3: tell your colleagues about the programme by sharing the programme link or with this downloadable poster (PDF, 462 KB)

Step 4: feedback and tell us what you think of the programme by completing this short evaluation survey


  • Future programme plans

    This programme will be augmented with further content to add to the initial resources uploaded. This will include:

    • new resources developed to plug the gaps in the programme map or converted from pre-existing material to increase accessibility
    • content shared by programme users and organisations to enhance or replace existing materials as required 
    • a communications toolbox for the ED and ward to aid communication with autistic children or children with a learning disability. It will include links to free resources to download, offering access to a range of communication tools for your hospital setting 
    • a guide to hospital passports, co-produced with a young person with lived experience, that can be downloaded and adapted to local needs

    Do please send in content and links you think we should add to

  • How to access the elfh resources

    The Children and Young People with Mental Health Needs, Autism or Learning Disability programme houses free, open access resources.

    In order to access the programme, you will need an elfh account. If you do not have one, then you can register by selecting the Register button below.

    Register >

    To view the Children and Young People with Mental Health Needs, Autism or Learning Disability programme, select the View button below. If you already have an account with elfh, you will also be able to login and enrol on the programme from the View button below.

    View >

    Registering large numbers of users

    If you are a HR, IT or practice manager and would like to register and enrol large numbers of staff within your organisation for access onto the Children and Young People with Mental Health Needs, Autism or Learning Disability programme, please contact elfh directly.

    More information

    Please select the following link for more information on how to use the elfh Hub.

  • Add this programme to your phone home screen for quick access

    You can add this programme page on your phone by accessing your browser settings or share settings and selecting “Add to Home Screen”. Please note steps vary between devices. On an iPhone tap the “share” icon  and then “Add to home screen”.

Learning domains

The majority of the programme content has been categorised across 6 domains. Within each domain folder you will find resources for different areas of care and different resource types and durations. You may also find a “Further Resources” folder, signposting the user to extended learning opportunities.

Take me to the Children and Young People with Mental Health Needs, Autism or Learning Disability programme.




  • Legal

    This domain offers resources to assist in understanding the law in relation to children and young people with mental health needs in acute settings, the implications for practice and clinical scenarios involving decision-making. The resources provide clear and practical information to help users navigate legal areas and are based on the most applicable CYP acute care legal frameworks as well as the voice of service user to ensure equal perspectives of CYP care are considered.

    The resources address topics relating to:

    • Mental Health Act
    • Mental Capacity Act
    • Deprivation of Liberties
    • Liberty Protection Safeguards

    Take me to the resources.

  • Learning disability and autism

    Giving those with lived experiences a voice helps us to better understand their unmet needs. This domain provides practical information on how to adapt communication and provide a wide range of reasonable adjustments to clinical practice and service delivery in order to provide an equal service.

    The resources include opportunities to further understanding of:

    • learning disability and autism
    • the interface of mental and physical health in this patient group
    • diagnostic overshadowing
    • personalised support including communication tools, passports and reasonable adjustments

    Take me to the resources.

  • Mental health

    This domain offers a range of material to identify, understand, manage, and engage with mental health presentations in an acute setting. The breadth of the information available includes:

    • quick guides to different mental health conditions
    • lived experience from individuals with mental health needs providing equity, balance and perspective to areas of mental health, through the eyes of the service user
    • signposting information for the young person/their carers allowing the clinician to provide first line, prevention and positive support
    • practical support in considering some ‘grey’ areas of mental health and complexities of patient journeys, including reducing restrictive practice and transitioning to adult services

    Take me to the resources.

  • Outcomes

    To ensure alignment to the young person and family/carer experience, ‘360’ perspective of care and the service user ‘voice’ should form a key component of delivery of care and outcome measures. This domain provides practical information to support the recognition and use of ‘lived experience’ in co-production as well as signposting to clinical standardised measures to support greater understanding of assessment and treatment needs of the CYP population.

    The resources are split into:

    • Routine outcome measures
    • Service co-production

    Take me to the resources.

  • Safeguarding

    This domain offers generic safeguarding material allowing insight and practical advice into safeguarding recognition, types of safeguarding and the role and interaction the clinician has in this area. The aim is to improve confidence in recognition, reporting and management of a breadth of safeguarding considerations, unique to the CYP population.

    Take me to the resources.

  • Staff support and supervision

    Meeting the needs of this patient population can have an impact on staff physically, mentally and emotionally. This domain highlights and reinforces areas of support for resilience, self-care, supervision, and reflection, in the hope the programme can offer access to material that validates and understands these experiences.

    Take me to the resources.

Searchable index for Children and Young People with Mental Health Needs, Autism or Learning Disability resources

CYPMH Searchable Index screen shot

The searchable index web app allows users of all professions to quickly find and access relevant content on the programme by:

  • keywords, resource titles and topics
  • duration
  • content types (for example, text, video, audio)
  • lived experience
  • easy read
  • content with certification (for CPD/revalidation)

You can build your own custom list of content and obtain a custom link and QR code to save your own lists or share with others.

  • Add the searchable index to your phone home screen for quick access

    You can add the searchable index web app to your phone home screen by opening it on your phone, accessing browser settings/share settings and selecting “Add to Home Screen”. Please note: steps vary between devices and browsers. On an iPhone tap the “share” icon  and then “Add to home screen”.

Research outputs informing our programme

  • Learning needs analysis

    Commissioned by the London Transformation and Learning Collaborative (LTLC) and conducted by the Rapid Research Evaluation and Appraisal Lab (RREAL) at University College London, this learning needs analysis, horizon scoping and literature review provided key context for the development of this programme.

Share your resources and feedback

We want to make this programme as comprehensive and fit for purpose as possible for you. To do this, we need your help through sharing your resources, making suggestions and feeding back on content that needs changing or improving:

  • Share resources

    Please email if you have any educational resources to share (related to the existing topics list or others), so we can continue to build this resource. Author recognition will be given.

  • Provide feedback

    We are keen to improve, so let us know any feedback you have about this site or resources by completing this short evaluation survey or email (

  • Further information

    NHS England and NHS Improvement and Health Education England have worked in partnership to develop this approach which has already been extensively tested with stakeholders.

    Please contact us for any further information or questions about the programme (

About the London Transformation and Learning Collaborative

The LTLC is a Health Education England and NHS England and Improvement initiative that was established in summer 2020 to support the cross-skilling of the London NHS workforce in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for any future surges in demand.

Since then, the LTLC has been responsible for the rapid and responsive co-development of a number of National cross-skilling programmes that aim to increase the capacity and capability of the workforce in response to urgent needs and demands of the healthcare system through the curation and development of free, open-access, interprofessional educational resources.

  • Other LTLC programmes
  • Meet the team
    • Julie Combes, Programme Lead
    • Lydia Lofton, Governance and Implementation Lead
    • Kathy Brennan, Governance and Implementation Lead
    • Libby Thomas, Education Lead
    • Ella Nuttall, National Skills Passport Strategy and Implementation Lead
    • Kulwant Sindhar, PMO Lead
    • Nicky Windle, Multiprofessional Content Curation and Design
    • Ben Richards, Multiprofessional Content Curation and Design
    • Janet Arris, Multiprofessional Content Curation and Design
    • Timothy Hunt, Digital Content Creation and Configuration Lead
    • Rosdip Rai, Project Manager
    • Jennifer Yeboah, PMO Support Officer
    • Christine Strickett, PMO Support Officer
    • Frankie O’Brien, elfh Project Manager
    • Bob Smith, elfh Platform Delivery Lead
    • Louise Garrahan, elfh Communications and Stakeholder Officer
elfh is a Health Education England programme in partnership with the NHS and professional bodies