Webinar: Social prescribing and Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

On the 15th of April we joined the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) for a webinar, sharing learning from the first phase of our Wellbeing While Waiting study.

23 April 2024

How can social prescribing help young people waiting for CAMHS support?

There are currently long waiting lists for young people needing mental health support in the UK. In a recent webinar with NASP we explored how a social prescribing pathway could help young people aged 11-18 while they are waiting to access CAMHS, by connecting them to non-medical forms of community support such as skills development, peer support, befriending and social or cultural activities.

During the session, we shared learnings from the first phase of Wellbeing While Waiting (‘INSPYRE) – a three-year study by the Social Biobehavioural Research Group, funded by the Prudence Trust. We also launched our new manual which will support CAMHS staff in developing and scaling social prescribing services in the future, drawing on insights from 11 partner sites across England.

Watch the webinar below and take a look at the guide to learn about the following key steps to developing a social prescribing pathway:

    1. Co-production, stakeholder engagement and buy-in
    2. Allocating a budget
    3. Establishing processes for social prescribing referral and children and young people monitoring
    4. Recruiting and managing link workers
    5. Developing children and young people communication processes and materials
    6. Creating a youth advisory group
    7. Launching the social prescribing pathway

We are immensely grateful for input from our partner CAMHS, primary care networks, and voluntary community and social enterprise organisations, as well as StreetGames and colleagues at UCL. The study is ongoing and we look forward to sharing further learning from this project. You can sign up to receive future updates via our newsletter.

“We know in the UK that half of young people who are referred to CAMHS are waiting for more than four months for their treatment and in some areas this is substantially worse – I’ve heard of sites now where they’ve got waiting lists of a year or more. Unfortunately around three quarters of young people on these waiting lists experience a deterioration in their mental health and 70% of them don’t receive any sign posting to any other form of support in the meantime. So it’s a huge challenge and a gap, but it’s also a perfect opportunity for social prescribing to come forwards.” 

“Compared to what’s happening for adults in Primary Care social prescribing for children and young people is really at embryonic stages – we just don’t have the same scale or evidence base so far. That said, there’s some hugely exciting local work happening around the UK which is really starting to show some promising impact being reported, so our aim is to build on this existing knowledge and practice in children and young people social prescribing with a robust large scale study.

– Professor Daisy Fancourt

Webinar speakers

  • Professor Daisy Fancourt, Social Biobehavioural Research Group at University College London.
  • Dr Daniel Hayes, Social Biobehavioural Research Group at University College London.
  • Liza Jarvis, Children and Young People Social Prescribing Lead at Streetgames.
  • Laura Buglass, Primary Mental Health Specialist at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Toby Sweet, CEO at Sunderland Counselling Service.


Prudence Trust logo              TSBRG


Visit NASP’s website for a copy of the presentation slides alongside further information about their webinar series.

View our brand new publication “Social Prescribing in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services: A Guide for CAMHS Practitioners”. This has been produced to support CAMHS staff throughout the NHS in developing and scaling social prescribing services in the future.