Children and Young People with Mental Health Needs, Autism or Learning Disability - elearning for healthcare
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  • London Transformation and Learning Collaborative
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  • NHS England partnership logo
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • NHS Elect logo

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

Most resources should take 20 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. Development of this platform has been led by users with healthcare systems, future learners and experts with lived experience involved in every stage (see the “Our approach” and “Co-creation” sections below).


  • Aim:

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

    • recognise and care for children and young people (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, 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 with lived 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 with lived experience”, and a Clinical Education Reference Group of healthcare professionals from across the UK and the spectrum of clinical specialities and multiple organisations and agencies who specialise in these areas.

    Every effort has been made 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

    Careful consideration has been given to the use of inclusive language, CYP’s, 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 some resources may use language now  considered outdated. We are unable to alter content created externally, but have still chosen to include certain resources where they add value 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 relating to language, 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

CYPMH surveyStep 1: sign in to the learning platform using your elfh Hub login details. If you do not already have one, you can register for an account. If you have any issues, check out this Help and Support page

Step 2: explore the multimedia resources using this flow chart as a guide and to see the overarching folder structures / programme map

Step 3: share any new resources or feedback with our team at

Step 4: tell your colleagues about the programme by sharing the programme link or with this downloadable poster (PDF, 462 KB)

Step 5: feedback and tell us what you think of the programme by completing this short evaluation survey


  • 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”.

Overarching resources

This overarching domain offers the user rapid access to:

  • national guidance, useful standard operating procedures and strategic positions in all areas of this programme
  • key websites for professionals, CYP, and families or carers

Featured resources designed for this programme

CYP resources

This section highlights a selection of resources which have been designed specifically for this programme and include the voice of children and young people with lived experience. We remain committed to identifying and hosting resources on this site that incorporate the voice of children and young people, their parents and carers wherever possible.





  • Paediatric restrictive practices and nasogastric feeding guidance

  • Art through CYP Lived Experience of Mental Health

  • Communication Toolbox

  • Hospital Passports for Learning Disability or Autism

  • Top tip infographics

  • Reflective learning on self-harm

A reflective view from a parent with lived experience

“Coming to hospital when you are not well is likely to be very stressful and distressing for a child or young person who is autistic, has a learning disability, or a mental health need. It is also likely to be worrying for their family or supporter.

Your hospital trust may already have thought about this and put in place plans to help, such as hospital passports or other reasonable adjustments like allowing for quieter, less crowded spaces. You may have completed the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training. Learning disability nurses may also be on hand to help. If you know the child or young person is expected at your hospital, you may have been able to help them, or their family prepare in advance and to make some preparations for communication and the environment too.

As with all your patients, do not forget to introduce yourself, welcome and reassure them and their family. Every child and young person’s communication and other needs (such as their sensory processing needs) will be unique to them. Taking a personalised approach is essential. They may be able to help you with this or have information to share. Asking and listening to them matters.

All these resources are designed to help you understand these issues better and to be able to access communication and other resources for young patients in your care should you need them.”

– Mary Busk, parent and Care and Welfare Deputy for Alex who is autistic and who has a severe learning disability

Learning domains

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

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 the 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 experience 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, hospital 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
    • 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.

Rapid Access Lists

Designed as quick introductions to an area of interest, learning pathway, or experience-appropriate content. Some also have additional “further resources” for the learner to extend their exploration of the subject matter or “Carer or parent resources” that are great to share with the young person and their carer.

Further lists are in development. If you have suggestions for lists that would be useful or develop your own that you would like to share, please contact  

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 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

    The Rapid Research Evaluation and Appraisal Lab (RREAL) at University College London conducted this learning needs analysis, horizon scoping and literature review which 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 to be changed or improved:

  • 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 site. 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 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 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 Senior Marketing and Communications Officer
elfh is a NHS England programme in partnership with the NHS and professional bodies