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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Early intervention framework for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

The Early Intervention Framework for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing (the Early Intervention Framework) is a web-based resource that has been developed to allow the comparison of psychologically informed evidence-based prevention and early intervention approaches that have been designed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, from the antenatal period until age 18.

Although other evidence guides that focus on approaches to improve the mental health of children and young people  are available, these tend to be limited to descriptions of the programmes, and details of their effectiveness. The Early Intervention Framework extends beyond this by utilising an Implementation Science approach, with the inclusion of information on the ability of local areas to implement each intervention, and how each early intervention approach fits within a local Scottish context.  The Early Intervention Framework draws upon the work of the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN), specifically the Hexagon Exploration Tool (Metz & Louison, 2018). It uses the six dimensions of the Hexagon Tool to rate each intervention: three factors related to the early intervention programme itself (usability, supports and evidence), and three factors relating to the ability of the implementing site to properly apply the intervention (capacity, fit and need).  

The ambition of the Framework is to enable staff across sectors throughout Scotland to make fully informed investment decisions about early intervention or prevention approaches, and how such potential approaches align with their local contexts. It is hoped that the Early Intervention Framework will support better use of prevention and early intervention approaches, which can substantially reduce the risk of future mental health difficulties.  

The Early Intervention Framework includes:  

  • A searchable database of evidence-based mental health and wellbeing interventions for children and young people (from the antenatal period- 18 years) 
  • Comprehensive information for each intervention included in the database across six key dimensions of implementation  
  • Guided questioning to support critical thinking and decision making regarding selecting and implementing interventions 
  • A self-assessment tool to enable consideration and evaluation of unique local implementation contexts 
  • A rating system for the six implementation dimensions with prepopulated scores for Programme Indicators (Usability, Supports, Evidence) and the ability for the user to self-rate the Implementing Site Indicators (Fit, Capacity, Need) based on their local context 
  • A tool to allow comparison of the ratings of each of the six dimensions of implementation across different programmes 
  • Tools and materials to support selection and implementation of an intervention 

The development was undertaken in partnership with multi-sector stakeholders from across Health and Social Care, Education and the Third Sector.

The Early Intervention Framework can be accessed at the following link: https://earlyinterventionframework.nhs.scot/ 

Contact us

For further details please contact: psychology@nes.scot.nhs.uk


Last updated: Thursday, January 28, 2021

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