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Parents Say Toolkit Menu

YoungMinds have created this participation toolkit with contributions from some of the 900+ parents who have registered to Parents Say.

The development of the Parents Say Toolkit was commissioned and funded by NHS England’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health Programme.

Many of the CAMHS involved in the first waves of the transformation process have helped develop the toolkit by testing and using first drafts of modules with support from YoungMinds.

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This toolkit will support services delivering mental health treatment to young people to implement parent participation in all aspects of their work – from Assessment, to Intervention, to Service Delivery.

It also supports services to make an effective business case for parent participation. When parents and carers are fully engaged in the treatment process, we have seen this will improve outcomes for the child and family.

Time and time again, parents have told us that they would like to work more closely with services to build resilience in their children and families.

Many of the parents we have spoken to have had very positive experiences, with services successfully working alongside them and their child to overcome mental distress and move forwards with greater levels of resilience. However we have also heard from many parents and carers who have not felt included in the treatment process, and would benefit from further opportunities for participation.

These findings are not unique, and are supported by recommendations within the Future in Mind Report (2015) produced by NHS England and the Department of Health.

our five key areas

The Toolkit is divided into 5 key areas, which emerged as central themes in our consultations with parents and carers. These are:

  • Improving service access, equality and diversity by working with parents
  • The need for greater levels of communication from services
  • Participation in service leadership and delivery
  • Diversifying the methods of engagement used with parents and carers
  • Supporting the workforce development of staff teams

Our story so far

Since April 2015, YoungMinds have been working with NHS England to support the participation of parents and carers in transforming mental health services for young people.

We have an active group of over 900 parents who have signed up to support this work, sharing their views and experiences in order to improve parent participation.

Over 50 of these parents have attended focus groups or shared their views over telephone interviews, and 16 have acted as Parent Representatives on National Boards.

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You can find out more about the key themes emerging from our initial conversations with parents in this powerpoint presentation, which contains quotations from many Parents Say members.

We are still looking for parents to be involved in this work with us to help us shape and inform what we do.

If you are a parent or carer interested in helping shape how parents can participate to improve the delivery of care in CAMHS please register your interest.

Get started!

Before you start using the practical support material in the toolkit, use this survey to give you an initial overview of how parent participation is already benefitting your own service, and which areas need further development.

The survey will take around 15-20 minutes to fill in, and will ideally be completed by your service's Parent Participation Lead (if applicable).

The questions in this survey correspond with the 5 key areas covered by the toolkit, as listed below.

We recommend that you use the toolkit to prioritise developing parent participation in the area with the most 'Red' ratings.

Access, Equality and Diversity

These modules have been created to help you engage with parents to tackle the under-representation of some communities in your service, along with stigma that adversely affects help seeking behaviour.

They will support you to:

  • Identify and ensure inclusion of people of variable cultures in your participation strategy.
  • Work with Protected Characteristics related to sexual orientation or religion and belief.
  • Work with parents to reduce stigma regarding the use and efficacy of psychological therapies.

Click here to read the Access, Equality and Diversity toolkit modules.


These modules have been created to support you to communicate effectively with parents and carers at every stage of their engagement with the service.

They will support you to:

  • Introduce new parents to the service
  • Update parents and carers with information about the service
  • Listen effectively to the needs of parents and carers
  • Explain confidentiality processes
  • Manage parent expectations

Click here for the Communications modules.

Leadership and service development

These modules have been created to support you in ensuring that parents' views inform service developments. This section covers topics including:

  • Involving parents in creating and achieving outcomes measures for their child
  • Creating effective feedback processes for parents
  • Promoting opportunities for parents to self-refer
  • Involving parents in service redesign

Click here for the Leadership and Service Development toolkit modules.

METHODs of engagement

These modules have been created to help you develop effective processes to engage parent views, experience and expertise. This section covers topics including:

  • Developing consultation methods
  • Implementing effective parent and carer engagement
  • Developing a parent participation strategy and business case

Click here for the Methods of Engagement toolkit modules.


These modules have been created to support you in engaging parent and carer experience and expertise to develop your service's workforce. This section covers topics including:

  • Involving parents in staff appraisals
  • Incorporating the parent perspective into staff training
  • Referring parents onto parent training programmes
  • Involving parents in staff recruitment

Click here for the Workforce Development toolkit modules.

For parents

Are you a parent or carer looking for resources which will help you to influence and develop parent participation in your own service?

Click here to read our Parent Toolkits.


Click here to watch five short films which demonstrate the potential for service improvement by engaging with parents and carers.


Our CAMHS partners have shared their good practice examples of engaging with parents to improve service provision.

Please click here to read the short examples, and find out how you can submit your own.

Resources Directory

Please click here for links to all of the resources offered across the toolkit.