ACAMH at 60 – Time to Make Use of All That Wisdom

Dr Raphael Kelvin is a Consultant Child Psychiatrist and National Clinical Lead for MindEd. He led the development of BPI for depression, a new brief treatment of equivalent efficacy to CBT & Short Term Psychoanalytic Therapy in the IMPACT RCT. He was previously the National Clinical Advisor for Children And Adolescent Mental Health at the Dept. of Health England. He has long advocated improvement and investment for CYP mental wellbeing health care, including his involvement in setting up the CYP IAPT and MindEd.

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ACAMH is 60 years old this year, and we are celebrating. But we are not standing still. Looking forward we noticed gaps in our offering. Gaps that we now intend to fill in the quest of better bridging the translation gaps. It’s now well known it can take 17 years for best practice to become daily practice in health care. ACAMH intends to help accelerate this uptake.

So, what is ACAMH really all about?

We are in the process of a wide-ranging strategic review and realignment. We aspire for ACAMH to become a major portal, access point for anyone seeking the most expertly digested understanding and interpretations of the best evidence available.

We have therefore revised our vision and mission.

ACAMH Vision Statement

Sharing best evidence, improving practice

ACAMH Mission Statement

  • Share best evidence and practice in an easily accessible way
  • Improve the quality of evidence and practice
  • Involve young people, families and practitioners in all our activities
  • Support multidisciplinary practice networks
  • Inspire the future of the field through better understanding of why children and young people experience difficulties and what promotes their wellbeing.

What does this mean for ACAMH and its users?

ACAMH is sitting on a wealth of raw material, 60 years of the best research and development. We want ACAMH to be the source of the most accessible, digestible, understanding of evidence and learning support. From this treasure trove we will accelerate improvements mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and their families.

So how are we setting about doing this?

We have a raft of exciting developments planned, starting with a new way of grasping key knowledge and learning. We call this ‘The Five Translational Touchstones’.

Accelerating Translation of Science to Practice

We envisage building a whole new database to support rapid implementation of best evidence. We have agreed that the ACAMH stable of publications, events and presentations will task each author, presenter, speaker to provide evidence-based bite-sized, digestible key points from their work. The ‘5 Touchstones’ will provide the framework.

How will ACAMH disseminate this wisdom?

The gathering data set will be a searchable treasure trove of bite-sized expertise. We will magnify the impact of these insights and learning through every possible channel.

One route will be through impacting on key bodies and organisations that influence care and practice in the UK. Our new policy officer will take a lead in this.

Our publications, events and teaching, will feed off the accumulating evidence database in a positive reinforcing cycle.

We plan to significantly strengthen our parent and young person participation strategy, rethinking the orientation of the website to meet more diverse target audience, user needs. Reaching out to parents and young people will be complimented by also reach out into new multidisciplinary networks and audiences, including schools.

We will seek new ways of reaching networks for example, bidding into grant based partnerships around the new Green paper in England. There is considerable protentional in ACAMHs nationwide branch networks evolving to support these aspirations.

ACAMH Translation of Evidence Themes

To provide additional focus we are going to run rolling ‘themes’, for 18 months each. We will start this year with ‘Resilience & Vulnerability’. We will be asking our contributors to consider in creating their bitesized learning against ‘The 5 Translational Touchstones’ what this knowledge and findings contributes to understanding of resilience and vulnerability.

We hope you will agree these are exciting directions of travel look forward to you joining us on this journey!


Thanks I really like the look and feel of this and hope it translates into better understanding, care and treatments for young people.

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