The CUES Story
CUES is an innovative prevention and early intervention programme rooted in evidence-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and designed by our Clinical Psychologists and CBT Therapists in response to direct feedback – about the need to learn how to look after our mental health from a young age – gathered over many years from children and adolescents they have worked with in South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
The programme teaches primary-aged children (7-10 years) cognitive strategies and simple but effective behavioural techniques with the help of multi-media and fun hands-on activities that make abstract concepts more concrete and memorable.
Flexible and adaptive responses to difficulties are promoted, including self-regulation (the ability to monitor and manage thoughts, behaviours and emotions; especially important when things are difficult or when strong emotions take over) and support-seeking – recognising when extra help is needed. These approaches encourage children to learn useful ways of looking after themselves and their mental health. They are taught to understand when things are not going well and develop life-long skills to help manage any difficulties now and those that might emerge later in adolescence or adulthood.
CUES clinicians originally delivered the programme to whole classes in primary schools to ensure a universal and wide reach. Service evaluation(1) showed high rates of acceptability and improvements on whole class well-being. Importantly, children identified as more vulnerable (those scoring within a clinical range on self-report measures of wellbeing/distress and emotional and behavioural difficulties) consistently show significant improvement following the CUES programme.
This finding that ‘those who need it most, benefit most’ strengthens our overall vision to reduce stigma, raise awareness and improve the mental health resources available to children in the UK, particularly in areas of high disadvantage.
CUES is also committed to enhancing the flexibility and scope of delivery – ensuring access to the most vulnerable children including population-specific delivery to those with chronic physical illness and those with Autism Spectrum disorders.