CAMHeleon offers a collection of achievable positive experiences young people can have while in hospital (both with help from others and independently), ways they may take advantage of these and how ward staff can offer support.
The ‘COLOURFUL Themes’, around which CAMHeleon is structured, aim to help CAMHS teams (along with co-piloting young patients) to create a masterpiece of inpatient care from the wide-ranging compendium of inspiration provided. Each theme reflects both an aspect of happy ward life and an important part of young people’s everyday wellbeing.

Within each theme you’ll find a user-friendly selection of associated ideas, articles, quotes, research and resources about therapeutic CAMHS care.

All CAMHS wards that manage to have all (relevant) COLOURFUL Themes in place, often by creatively adapting the basic ideas, are eligible for the COLOURFUL Award.

Read about the CAMHeleon COLOURFUL Award here
We love mnemonics! C.O.L.O.U.R.F.U.L spells out the following themes:

1. Caring Relationships
2. Opportunity and Expression
3. Leisure and Therapeutic Activity
4. On and off the Ward
5. Understanding
6. Relational and Physical safety
7. Family and Friends
8. Unique Recovery Journeys
9. Learning and Growth

Explore the themes
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Here's some more info on the themes:

Caring Relationships

Young people flourish when they feel truly connected and understood. Empathy, warmth, patience, encouragement, mutual trust and acceptance are all relational biggies.

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Opportunity and Expression

This theme is about involvement, influence and promoting self-expression. For the young person at this time, opportunity and expression are particularly important.
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Leisure and Therapeutic Activity

Young people having constructive, therapeutic, meaningful and enjoyable things to do while in hospital and maintaining, as far as possible, activities from home life: that’s what this theme aims to champion.

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On and Off the Ward

Caring connections and relationships are essential for happiness. This theme emphasises the feel-good factors of community spirit, generosity, kindness and respect

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This theme is all about the young person making the most of their time on the ward through getting a good understanding of both their current situation, what led to it, and the choices available to them

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Relational and Physical Safety

Feeling safe and comfortable internally and externally: that’s what this theme is all about. Creating an environment that reduces anxiety and enables young people to feel emotionally and physically secure, especially when in crisis.

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Family and Friends

Young people experience mental health problems within a family (or similar) setting. When the young person is in hospital there is an important need to keep contact with family and friends.

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Unique Recovery Journeys

Recovery is about growing, finding hope. It’s about young people’s whole lives and is possible for everyone. Goals can be moulded by staff, but only from the raw material provided by the young person.

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Learning and Growth

This theme focuses on how therapeutic relationships can nurture healthy development and gentle movement towards a young person’s own idea of holistic success. Both education and nursing staff can find a good balance between the young patient's right to education and what they can take on board while feeling unwell.

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