Effective evidence-based practices (EBP) for children and young people’s (CYP) mental health exist, however, there is low uptake in clinical practice and interventions do not always reach those in need. This review aimed to comprehensively identify and synthesise the barriers and facilitators to implementing EBP in CYP mental health care, mapped according to an implementation framework in order to make pragmatic recommendations for practitioners, commissioners and researchers.
Following the PRISMA guidelines, an electronic search of PsycINFO, MEDLINE, CINAHL and Embase in 2021 yielded 1830 results. In total, 107 abstracts were screened, 57 of which were included for full-text review and 26 were included for data extraction and analysis.
We identified a number of organisational and clinician-level barriers which impede the implementation of evidence in ‘real world’ practice. Barriers included lack of access to funding; poor access to resources; clinician attitudes and flexibility of EBP. Facilitators included targeted funding and access to resources; supportive staff and leadership committed to innovation and skills in the EBP.
Although the process of translating research into practice is challenging and the solutions are not straightforward, we have identified a set of practical recommendations for ways in which implementation practices can improve. Researchers, commissioners, funders and practitioners can work together to improve the implementation of EBP in CYP mental health settings by ensuring funding is available, prioritise implementation beyond the end of trials, upskill staff on integrating EBP into care, ensure EBPs are flexible and are co-produced with service users.
This review was registered on PROSPERO international prospective register of systematic reviews (CRD42021252995).