What is Participation?

Participation is the principle that young people and parents and carers should have an active role to play in the decisions around their care, and the shape and delivery of services who support them.

Children and young people’s participation is one of the five key principles of the CYP IAPT programme, and it is essential to successful service transformation: Services need to be able to meet the needs of the young people and parents that they work with – not only in meeting their care, but also in how services are set up to deliver support.

Participation places great emphasis on shared decision making – which means that young people have an equal role as their practitioner in making decisions about their treatment. CYP IAPT practitioners will discuss with you a range of different ways of working together, and help you come to a shared decision about the opportunities.

How do I implement Participation in my service?

There a number of great free resources to get you thinking about planning and implementing participation in your service:

  • For a comprehensive guide to getting started: Hear By Right (relaunched 2018)
  • For free training in CYP IAPT participation: MindEd 
  • For more resources, click here to explore our Participation Resource Library.


  • There are regular networking meetings happening for participation workers to get together and share best practice and organise events and training. Please contact Remick, our Participation Innovator to find out details for the next meeting: r.kang@exeter.ac.uk, or check our calender here.
  • All staff who complete the CYP IAPT training programmes receive training in authentic participation and shared decision-making which they will bring to your service in their daily practice.
  • Join your local CYP IAPT steering group to share practice and ideas with other services around embedding participation.
  • Request consultation from your CYP IAPT Clinical Leads via sw-cyp-iapt@exeter.ac.uk

What are we currently working on at the Learning Collaborative?

  • Building the evidence base for Participation.
  • Sharing best practice across the South West and nationally (if you have examples you would like to share, please email Remick: r.kang@exeter.ac.uk)
  • Supporting services to embed Participation practices through support meetings, the Participation Leads meeting and bespoke training opportunities.
  • Increasing Participation at a regional level, through the Youth Board and our quarterly meeting of all Collaborative partner services.
  • Working with Young Devon and services across the region to offer accredited participation training for young people.

000-3.pngOur Youth Board meet every three months to share what they are working on locally, feed into regional developments and develop ideas and plans to improve mental health services. If you would like to get involved or find out more about what we do, please email Remick, our Participation Innovator: r.kang@exeter.ac.uk. Similarly, if you are a parent or carer and would like to find out opportunities to get involved, again please email Remick.


Please click here to explore the resources