We Can Talk

We Can Talk is using co-production to improve the experience of children and young people who attend hospital due to their mental health and the staff who support them.

Welcome to We Can Talk online, our free forever (yes, forever ever!) open-access online home for training, resources, events and a community of practice dedicated to creating cultural change!

If you are a nurse, HCA, paramedic, doctor, receptionist, security or any role working in an acute hospital and want to improve the experience of children and young people in mental health crisis, welcome, you’ve come to the right place.

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Working together to create change

We Can Talk, led by People Unlimited, is working with more than 100 NHS organisations to improve staff’s knowledge, skills and confidence in supporting young people in mental health crisis.

Hospital staff working in acute care settings consistently report a lack of confidence and competency in caring for children with mental health needs and research shows too many young people have negative experiences of presenting to hospital due to their mental health.

We Can Talk is a co-designed and co-delivered project to kickstart a process of cultural change in order to transform the experience of children and young people who attend hospital due to their mental health and the hospital staff who support them by providing training and supporting community-building and quality improvement initiatives. We encourage Trusts (and senior leaders) to find out about joining the project and all NHS staff can sign-up for a free account to access training, resources and events for free (yes, free free).

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust
We Can Talk
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust
East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Of Leicester NHS Trust
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust
Isle Of Wight NHS Trust
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
Whittington Health NHS Trust
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
London Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust
The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust
Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. NHS Foundation Trust
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
Aneurlin Bevan University Health Board
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust
South Tyneside And Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust
Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Medway NHS Foundation Trust
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Test Trust
James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
University Hospitals of North Midlands
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust
Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
Airedale NHS Foundation Trust
North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
Isle of Wight Ambulance NHS Trust
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
North West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Barts Health NHS Trust
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
View all hospitals and trusts we work with

Hear about the project from hospital staff and young people themselves!

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Video transcript

Keshia: We Can Talk has definitely been more than a project. It’s more of a way of practice, a way of functioning, a way of just being a better human, even though we are focused on children and young people, it’s a better way to understand those around us, wherever it is somebody passing you in the corridor or somebody you work with, it gives you a better idea of looking beyond the person and seeing beyond what their emotions could be, the whole iceberg, what’s underneath. It just gives you a whole new way of thinking and reflecting on things. And that’s something that you’ll have with you for life. 

Laura: Over the past few years, we’ve seen a massive increase in children with mental health coming into hospitals. And we just don’t have enough knowledge. We don’t have enough skills to effectively care for these patients. And I think especially what we’ve learnt from the project is that, you know, what the experience that that patient has when they come into hospital can completely change their outlook on hospitals in general, and on their stays and really affect them going forward and on discharge and how they respond. So I think, the more people can be educated and can have that knowledge and that skillset to care for these patients. Like we said before, even if it’s just a case of, you know, making small changes, I think is really, really important. And I think really beneficial for patients and for staff, it will make our experience of these patients and how we care for them a lot more positive, and I think personally, you’ll feel a lot better about the care you’ve provided, if you’ve got that knowledge and skillset to do so. 


Can't watch the video?

Video transcript

Liv: Well, the We Can Talk project just means so much to me. I think it’s just something I couldn’t even imagine was real. When I look back at me being in a bad place, I could never imagine doing what I’m doing now and sort of telling my story in a way. And I think it just gives me a lot of closure about a lot of things. And I think at the time when I’d be in hospital in a mental health crisis, I’d just think literally everyone was against me and everyone thought I was this, this and that. And then I think being part of the We Can Talk project, having talking to hospital staff and like being in a co-produced project and working with hospital staff, it’s just been like amazing, ’cause it made me realise like people weren’t judging me or people weren’t trying to make things worse for me, people just don’t always get it. And it’s just so amazing to like try and help staff understand what young people are going through and like meeting so many other amazing young people and just feeling like not alone and just feeling like all of what I was feeling was like valid, and that I wasn’t the only person feeling like that. And just literally being like part of a little family and yeah, I just love it. 

Stuart: So I got involved because I think it’s really important for young people to have a platform to share their experiences, although our experiences are unique and we all have different experiences, I know that I’m not the only person who’s had negative hospital experiences. And I know that there’s work and there’s people who want to do something towards changing that. And I’m hoping that by getting involved in this, I can also inspire more young people to want to work collaboratively or co-produce with health professionals, ’cause I don’t think we’re supposed to be… it’s supposed to be an us against them. I think by getting involved in this kind of work where I can speak about my lived experience in a healthy environment, as health professionals are willing to listen, we can start to have a conversation about how to improve care for young people.


An evidenced-based education framework for hospital staff

Since 2017 We Can Talk  has trained more than 10,000 acute hospital staff with 99% reporting We Can Talk training will make a difference to the way they do their job and 99% recommending it to a colleague. All training is based on our publicly available evidenced-based competency framework in children and young people’s mental health developed with funding from Health Education England and co-produced with hospital staff, mental health experts and young people with lived experience of attending hospital in mental health crisis.

Our We Can Talk online learning platform includes free access to the We Can Talk fundamental of compassionate care, a one-hour self-directed learning module, co-designed and co-delivered by young people, which has been used by 15,000 people from more than 200 NHS trusts!

We Can Talk online is also home to our internationally recognised We Can Talk Core Curriculum training, a one-day self-directed training providing acute hospital staff with the knowledge, skills and confidence to support young people in mental health crisis. Check if your hospital has access to the We Can Talk Core Curriculum training by signing up for a staff account or find out how to register your organisations interest in joining the We Can Talk project in the future (funding available!).


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A graphic depicting stats from Health Education England, 10,000 hospital staff trained to improve the experience of children and young people in mental health crisis. 99% of people reported that We Can Talk training makes a difference to the way they do their job.
NHS Health Education England Nursing times awards 2020 RCN Awards 2021 Child Outcomes Research Consortium NHS England GMHSCP

We Can Talk is co-produced by People Unlimited.