Research Inspired by Service Experts

CAMHS RISE logoBackground:

A young person from the South Devon CAMHS participation group asked whether there was a correlation between the time spent on CAMHS waiting lists and length of treatment; a fantastic question that could be answered through service evaluation and research.

It became clear that there weren’t appropriate systems for service evaluation in place to facilitate this within CAMHS or Research and Development. After some time, a Trainee Clinical Psychologist on placement in CAMHS undertook a literature review and then another pair of Trainees completed a service evaluation; however, the process was slow, and it was almost two years after the original question was asked that results from the evaluation have been shared.

CAMHS, in partnership with the DPT R&D team and the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Research Collaboration (ChYMe), set about trying to find a way to address this challenge.

Identifying a solution:

We wanted to develop a system where questions generated by service users and parent/carers could go into a library in CAMHS for Trainee Clinical Psychologists to access when they undertake their service evaluation/quality improvement project as part of their training, as well as research staff within DPT and the University of Exeter.

We understood that many of the questions that we gathered may have already been researched, so ChYMe planned to conduct searches of what information was already out there about the questions voted most important by young people. These brief reviews would then be written up into summaries of the existing evidence.

After the initial 6 months of CAMHS RISE, we received additional funding from the South West Peninsula Applied Research Collaboration (PenARC), allowing us to extend the project for a full year.

What we did:

We ran three workshops with CAMHS experienced young people from across Devon, both online and face-to-face, listening to their stories and finding out what they felt would be important to investigate. In the second phase of the project, we also spoke to parent/carers, and added their ideas to our list.

All of the ideas were refined into potential service evaluation questions. We then ran three lots of prioritisation where we asked people to choose which questions they felt were most important by voting for them online:

  • Phase 1 prioritisation. We asked young people to choose the most important questions from the first workshop so that we could start conducting reviews for the evidence summaries.
  • Parent/carer prioritisation. This was to compare what this group felt was most important to what was most important to young people.
  • Final prioritisation. This is for service users to choose from the full list of 106 questions, and so that we can identify the top 10 most important questions as voted for by them. This is ongoing, and we hope to have the final list by the end of the year.

We then created evidence summaries for the top 5 questions voted for by young people, and one question chosen by parent/carers. You can read these via the links below.

Evidence summary questions:

Next steps:

CAMHS RISE will be continued within Devon CAMHS so that we are keeping on top of the topics that service users think are important. We hope to work with further groups in the future,  in order to listen to even more voices that we did not get to hear in the first 12 months of the project.

The project will be under constant review, and we will share findings of any of the service evaluations or longer term research that is generated as a result of the ideas that we have gathered.


Thank you to all of our participants and group facilitators affiliated with Young Devon, Devon CAMHS, Torbay Youth Trust and Parental Minds. All of your contributions are so valuable, and we appreciate you taking the time to share your stories and opinions with us.

Thank you also to our partners ChYMe, PenARC , and the NIHR CRN (National Institute for Health and Care Research – Clinical Research Network) for your collaboration on this project.

chyme logo NIHR funded by logo DPT logo

Further information

If you have any questions about the project or would like information on how to get involved in the future, please contact us by emailing

If you are interested in the finer details of our processes or would like to replicate the project, then we are sharing our CAMHS RISE Project Handbook with our guidance and reflections.