What is We Can Talk?

We Can Talk is working to improve the experiences of young people who attend hospital due to their mental health and the staff who support them. 

Coproduced with young people with lived experience, hospital staff and mental health experts, We Can Talk is working to change the culture of acute hospitals through community building and training.

Why is We Can Talk needed?

“I will not go up there anymore, because I feel like such a time waster. I just want to go home, hide under the duvet and die of shame” 

43% of young people wouldn’t go back to A&E for mental health support because of a bad previous experience (National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, 2004). These bad experiences mean that they are less likely to cope on discharge and increases the risk of reattendance (CQC, 2015

Meanwhile, hospital staff working in acute care settings consistently report a lack of confidence and competency in caring for children with mental health needs.  That’s why we created We Can Talk, to create change and improve the experience for everyone.

How does We Can Talk work?

We Can Talk co-produced (with hospital staff, young people and mental health experts) a evidenced-based educational competency framework in children and young people’s mental health. Linked to these competencies,  a co-designed and co-delivered one-day Core Curriculum programme of training  was developed. This training is designed to improve the knowledge, skills and confidence of any member of staff (from porter to paediatrician) who see children and young people in their role. This may be in their clinical or non-clinical positions whilst working in paediatric or adult hospital settings.  

Following the Covid pandemic, we further co-produced to adapt the Core Curriculum to enable it to be delivered entirely via our We Can Talk online platform.  Staff in our current partner NHS trusts now complete the Core Curriculum at their own pace, with high quality video, interactive learning tools and access to live workshops, events and Q&A sessions.  

We Can Talk is  working with Health Education England, NHS England and NHS Improvement and geographic partners to ensure  all acute trusts have access to this high quality education and change management programme. 

Find out more about the organisations who are already part of our Family and learn more about our plans to change the future by downloading the Powerpoint or Slidepack (PDF) presentation and sharing within your organisation. 

For those organisations who are not yet part of the We Can Talk family, staff can access training to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence in supporting young people in mental health crisis by completing the ‘Fundamentals of compassionate care’ module via this link . This training has been accessed by more than 15,000 people and shortlisted for the 2021 Royal College of Nursing awards.

The impact of We Can Talk

You can learn more about how we developed We Can Talk and the impact it has had locally by downloading our  pilot project report from our work with Barts Health NHS Trust. We were proud to have been nominated for a Nursing Times Award, showcased in a short film and recognised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as an area of outstanding practice. You can also download the independent training impact analysis completed by the Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC) for our work across Kent, Surrey and Sussex with nearly 500 hospital staff. We Can Talk was a finalist in three categories at the 2020 Nursing Times Awards and at the 2020 Royal College of Nursing awards. 

We Can Talk is led by Healthy Teen Minds with support from the Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC)