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THRIVE The AFC–Tavistock Model for CAMHS

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across England have never been so prominently in the spotlight. The recent publication of the Health Committee quoted a government minister as describing services as “dysfunctional” and the committee referred to “serious and deeply ingrained problems” with respect to commissioning1. A Government-sponsored taskforce (to which several of the authors are contributing) is in progress, the Department for Education is planning a mental health strategy for schools, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Child and Adolescent Mental Health Faculty has scheduled a Commission on Values in CAMHS for next year.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust (The Tavistock) and the Anna Freud Centre (AFC) have been collectively and individually considering what CAMHS could and should look like for some time.

In 2014, we formed a consortium to further develop and refine a new model for CAMHS based on our shared thinking in this area: this is now known as the THRIVE model1. In this document, we lay out the key aspects. We are sharing our thinking as it develops to help inform the current national debate on the future of CAMHS and as a basis for future provision. We are not presenting THRIVE as a tried and tested one-size-fits-all implementation model, nor is the language and terminology for different groups fixed at this point. Whilst AFC and Tavistock do have thoughts on implementation in particular contexts, this paper does not purport to be a how-to guide.

We feel that the THRIVE model offers a radical shift in the way that services are conceptualised and potentially delivered, along with suggestions for how they might be reviewed and improved. Through wider discussion, planning and, in time, the commissioning processes, the model will appropriately undergo refinements and developments as to how it can be applied to local contexts.