Child mental health - sub-specialty

Paediatricians sub-specialising in child mental health promote mental wellbeing and work with children and families with mental health difficulties.

Read about this clinical area and download the syllabi for both sub-specialty and for generic specialty training. We also have an educational supervisor guide.

Introduction to this sub-specialty

A Child Mental Health Paediatrician is a doctor who has expertise in promoting mental wellbeing, “parity of esteem” (the principle by which mental health must be given equal priority to physical health) and working with children, young people and families with mental health difficulties.

This includes children and young people with somatisation and complex presentations, behavioural challenges, neurodevelopmental disorders, eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety and other mental health presentations.

Child Mental Health Paediatricians have a thorough knowledge of theoretical aspects of mental health, including psychological, social and neurobiological aspects and apply it in a clinical and advisory capacity. They can use the biopsychosocial model and know the range of psychotherapeutic approaches within the multidisciplinary team.

They are involved in developing formulations, managing complex cases and liaising with other mental health specialists, including paediatricians, paediatric sub-specialists and local teams in order to enhance holistic care. They have the ability to provide specialist regional advice in complex cases.

Training in this sub-specialty

In summer 2023, we launched RCPCH Progress+, our updated, two-level paediatric training programme in the UK.

Paediatricians start in core training, and then move on to specialty training - when some choose to apply to train in a paediatric sub-specialty, such as child mental health.

The Progress+ curriculum provides a framework for paediatric training, and outlines the Learning Outcomes and Key Capabilities required at each stage before attaining the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

The RCPCH Progress+ syllabi support the curriculum with further guidance on how the Learning Outcomes can be achieved and demonstrated, with sub-specialty Learning Outcomes. You can download the Progress+ syllabi for this sub-specialty and for specialty training (generic) below. 

Trainees due to CCT by September 2024 continue to use the Progress curriculum and syllabi; you can also download the the Progress syllabi below.