Participation is about involving those using a service to have an active voice in how its run. The aim of this is to shape services  better suit those it is created for. For SET CAMHS (Southend Essex and Thurrock) this is Young people up to 18, and their parents who use their local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.  

What is a participation group and why have them? 

Participation workers, alongside clinicians, run participation groups with service users in order to discuss either a designated topic or feedback from the young people themselves. Groups are mostly locality based and will meet on a regular basis (usually once every 1-2 months) after school hours.

How does participation benefit us? 

Participation has many benefits for the service users and for clinicians. Young people have reported that they feel their voice is more appreciated as well as the service being more suited to them, and feeling more accessible. It also gives them an opportunity to access peer support as well as being an experience they might want to include in future college, university or job applications. 

For clinicians, the increased engagement and involvement of young people can lead to better treatment outcomes for our service users and can also be beneficial for staff development. It’s also an important element of NELFT policy. 

How can you get involved? 

If you are interested in using your voice and experience to help us improve our services please speak to your clinician/health care worker and they will put you in touch with one of our participation workers, alternatively you can email You can also follow us on Instagram @SET_CAMHS_NHS  to find out more about how service users are working with us and about specific projects which might interest you.