COMIC Actively shaping the future of mental health care for children

The Child Oriented Mental Health Innovation Collaborative (COMIC) is an NHS research team at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) based in York. In this blog they provide an overview of their innovative mental health research.

Who are COMIC and what do we do?

Our team of highly skilled researchers develop research ideas in collaboration with children, young people and their families, clinical staff, academics and external partners with a vested interest in the improvement of the mental wellbeing of children and young people.

The COMIC team

Our work aims to provide innovative mental health research in areas such as:

  • Social and emotional wellbeing
  • Neurodiversity (including autism and ADHD)
  • Social prescribing
  • The Deaf experience

the COMIC logo

At COMIC we place children, young people and their families at the centre of everything we do to further develop support that is accessible, child-friendly and child-focused.

We advocate the use of child friendly support which incorporates health care in a fun and engaging way. Our research increases the evidence base for clinical decisions, decreases uncertainty, and can lead to improvements in care for service users.

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement

Our outreach work is really important to us, and we believe that it is vital to hear the voices of the young people we are aiming to help. We work with a number of young people’s advisory groups, families, and professionals within our local area to plan and implement research that will bring real life benefit to them.

Chilren in a group discussion with an adult

We draw upon the lived experience of these individuals to inform study design by incorporating the interests and priorities of children and young people.


The team uses multiple methods of research including:

  • Randomised controlled trials
  • Systematic reviews and scoping reviews
  • Feasibility studies
  • Observational studies
  • Qualitative methods
  • Co-production

Benefits of our work

Our research provides evidence leading to widespread changes in practice for the NHS. The findings from our studies are disseminated by peer reviewed articles, press releases, conferences and reports in order to inform best practice. We are proactive in research dissemination.

If there is anything you are interested in hearing more about, please find our contact details below.

Our previous research

Our most recent research outputs include the following studies:

DIADS – Adaptation and validation of assessment tools for autism to make them more accessible for deaf children and young people (

Deaf infants – A systematic review of early interventions for parents of deaf babies (

ASPECT – A randomised controlled trial comparing one session phobia treatment to multi-session cognitive behavioural therapy treatment (awaiting publication)

ISOCIALISE – A randomised controlled trial which investigated LEGO based therapy (now Play Brick Therapy) as a tool to encourage social development for autistic children, based in schools (undergoing peer-review)

ATTACHMENT – Systematic review of routinely used interventions for improving attachment in infants and young children (undergoing peer review)

ASSSIST-2 – School based study measuring the social and emotional wellbeing of autistic children following the use of Social StoriesTM, a child-friendly behavioural intervention intended to support the understanding of social information (Awaiting peer-review)

Get involved

SoundFields – We are currently recruiting autistic young people (8-18 years old) to test a virtual reality game which aims to help with the negative experience of sound sensitivity

CONIFAS – We are currently recruiting children (5-11 years old) with diagnosed ADHD and professionals in the field to co-produce a nature-based intervention

Safety Nets – Feasibility study of social prescribing using physical activity and psychoeducation for young people on child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) waiting lists

MinecraftⓇ – Exploring the practicality and acceptability of promoting social skills in autistic children using MinecraftⓇ in school and home, please contact us if you want to hear more!

Young Persons Advisory Group – We will soon be recruiting for members of a young person’s advisory group focussing on mental health and wellbeing, who will work with COMIC to help inform and shape our future research.

Find out more

#COMICCONference2022 – Look out for more information about our conference on our Twitter account @COMICResearch, taking place on the 29th September 2022.

Contact card image

If you require any extra information or want to hear more about COMIC or would like to take part in any of the recruiting studies, you can contact us at or visit our website