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How to use the resource:

What the resource is for

The Early Intervention (EI) Framework for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing is a database of early intervention programmes. It has been designed to help guide decision making around what interventions or initiatives to implement. The resource provides information about a range of interventions aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people and uses the NIRN Hexagon model to structure the information provided. By doing this we hope to aid your assessment and decision making around which intervention is the best fit for your implementing context. For each intervention you explore, you will find information on each indicator of the Hexagon Tool. You will be able to compare interventions which will help you make an informed decision about what intervention would be the best fit for your unique situation.

Further background information about implementation science and the Hexagon Tool used can be found here

Prior to using the resource

The information provided about each intervention is structured around the 6 indicators of the NIRN Hexagon Tool.

  • Usability
  • Supports
  • Evidence
  • Fit
  • Capacity
  • Need



You will find information about each of the Programme Indicators - the Usability of a programme, the Supports available from the programme developers to implement it and the best Evidence for the intervention. Each of these indicators will have been given a rating based on the Hexagon Tool scoring system. You will also find details about Implementing Site Indicators this is the Need the programme meets, how it might Fit in a service, with other approaches or services and what Capacity is required to deliver the intervention. These indicators are scored by you the “implementing site”. It is therefore important that you have done a bit of preparation prior to using this tool so you know what you are looking for and how to score the Implementing Site Indicators.

We would recommend that you have conducted a needs assessment before using the tool. It would be helpful to have a solid idea about what you are looking for and what is needed in the population you serve prior to using the resource. It is important to involve a diverse representation of local families and community partners in the needs assessment to ensure that all those your service is aimed at are considered (for more information about the importance of Equality in Implementation click here) The following should be considered:

  • Have you collected data about the need?
    • What is the issue of concern? What do you want to understand? What is the extent of the unmet need?
    • Identify the population: is it an entire community or a specific population with certain characteristics?
    • Statistics about the population / community profile
    • What is the gap between need and supply?
    • What is the availability of current services to meet the needs of the population?
    • What are stakeholder opinions – population of interest, professionals, wider public? What do they perceive is the need?
  • Have you thought about, and collected data on, the kind of intervention that might fit in your community?
    • What are the family and community values?
    • Are there cultural and linguistic differences that need to be accounted for in your community?
    • What other initiative are currently being implemented locally that a new intervention would need to fit with and how will they help or hinder a new intervention?
  • Have you considered what your current capacity is?
    • What is your budget to implement a new intervention or approach?
    • What staff do you have available?
    • What are their qualifications / level of training of your staff pool?
    • What capacity do your staff have to deliver a new intervention or approach?
    • How could capacity be created?

Having an overview of these 3 dimensions, Need, Fit and Capacity, will aid you in rating the intervention and in making a fully informed decision about what intervention to invest in.

View How to use the Early Intervention Framework 

A demonstration of how to use the framework can be found here; a written description is below. 

Search interventions

Once you have identified the population you are targeting and the need you are looking to meet you can start to narrow down your interventions. The “Search Interventions” button, found at the top of every page, or the “Explore the Interventions” button found on the home page will take you to the “Filter Interventions” page. Here you can filter your search by

  • Age
  • score on indicators
  • delivery model
  • provision (whether the intervention has been implemented in Scotland)
  • mental health and wellbeing need - this section is broken into 4 areas of need:
    • Supporting Behavioural Challenges
    • Promoting Emotional Wellbeing
    • Supporting Positive Relationships
    • Neurodiversity

By selecting one of these filters all subheadings will be searched, or you can select an area of specific focus under each of these filters.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a particular intervention you can enter the name, or part of the name, of the intervention in the “search by name” section. To search specific terms please use the Mental Health and Wellbeing Need filter buttons. Entering terms into the Search by name section will only return results if the word searched is in the title of the intervention.

Click “search” or the return button to generate the responses to your search. From here you can edit your search using the filters that appear on the page. Previous search results will not be saved.

If you would like to browse all the interventions included in the Framework, do not select any filters and press “search”, all interventions will be returned in your search.

Intervention Pages

Once you have narrowed your search using the filters, select an intervention to explore. You will be taken to the “Intervention Pages”. Here you will see a summary of the intervention and a hexagon. Use the hexagon to navigate between indicators. When exploring each indicator, you will see a rating score on the heading and a question mark icon next to the rating. By hovering over this icon, you can see the description of what the rating means.

Please be aware, within the Evidence section, that evidence is presented in different age ranges. Some interventions may be relevant to only part of an age range, for example an intervention may be aimed at children aged 4 – 7 years old resulting in them having an evidence review in the 3-5 age range and in the 6-12 age range, however the studies included may only have included children up to 7 years old. When possible, age ranges of children included in studies reviewed has been given.

On this page you can also share the page with others, save the intervention information as a PDF and add the intervention to be compared with others.

These pages are for information only. If you select the purple “Complete assessment” button, you will be taken to the Self-Assessment pages where you can add content to the Implementing Site Indicators, score them and save your work.

Self-Assessment pages

The information about the Programme Indicators (Usability, Supports and Evidence) are the same here as on the intervention pages. Within the Implementing Site Indicators (Fit, Capacity & Need) you will now be able to type in your responses to the questions and score these indicators.

For each Site Indicator you can select a score at the bottom of the page, using a drop-down menu. Next to the drop down you will see a question mark icon. If you hover over this icon, it will reveal the scoring criteria for each rating.

On the self-assessment pages, you are also able to add the intervention to the “Compare Interventions” section. The scores you entered for the implementing site indicators will now appear in this section.

Save the intervention

To ensure any scores and responses to questions are not lost you must save your work. This is done by clicking the “Save Self-Assessment” button at the top of the page. You will then be prompted to enter your email address. Once you have done this and clicked “send email” you will receive a link that takes you back to the Self-Assessment pages of this intervention.  This process should be repeated for each intervention you enter information into if you wish it to be saved.

Download PDF

Alternatively, you can download a PDF by clicking on the Generate Self-Assessment Report button. This will produce a PDF with all the intervention information included and all the information you entered.

When using the website it is advised that you always use the same web browser on the same device to reduce the risk of any of your changes not being saved.

After using either the download PDF or Save Self-Assessment options, you can navigate away from this page and upon returning to it later (using the same device and web browser) your scores will remain, however, text entered WILL NOT. To save text you must use the Save Self-Assessment function.

Compare Intervention

From the intervention pages and the Self-Assessment pages, you can add the intervention to the Compare Interventions page by selecting the option in the Compare section. If scores have been entered for the Implementing Site Indicators these will appear here. To navigate to the Compare Interventions page, click the purple “Compare Interventions” button at the top of the page. If you are on the Self-Assessment page you will be reminded that you need to save any work. If you do not save your scores they will be lost when you return to the page.

In the Compare Interventions page you will be able to view the scores from a number of interventions side by side. Underneath the scores you have the option to navigate back to the intervention page or to remove the intervention from the compare intervention page.

Making a Decision

Once you have narrowed your search and completed the self-assessment for these interventions the Compare Interventions function will let you see the intervention scores side by side.

We suggest first prioritising the Implementing Site indicator for Need. Understanding the need of your population is an important starting point for narrowing down potential interventions that demonstrate evidence for meeting that specific need.  Once you have selected interventions that demonstrate evidence for meeting the unique needs for your population, you can consider the usability of the intervention, the types of supports available if you choose that intervention, whether you have the capacity to implement and sustain the intervention, and whether the intervention under consideration is aligned with the priorities and values of your community.

When making a decision about what intervention to implement, it is important to take into account a number of factors

  • Ratings across the indicators
  • All the information provided about the interventions
  • What is realistic for your service
  • If capacity is scoring low – can this be increased with any local changes?

Ratings should not be the only factor in your decision making but should be used as a guide to help your decision making.