Mental Health in Development
Delivering accessible, effective interventions for children, young people and families
Main location of work
Why the work is important
Most mental health problems start in childhood or adolescence with increasing incidence. Currently few individuals receive professional support or interventions and the outcomes are modest for those that do. The Department of Health and Social Care mental health research goals (2020-2030) call for research with the potential to halve the number of children and young people experiencing mental health problems. This Theme, led by internationally renowned experts, will focus on understanding how mental health problems are caused and maintained as children and young people grow up, the values and preferences of children and young people and their families, and account for the common co-occurrence of cognitive, language, and physical health needs.
The Theme’s underpinning hypothesis is that improved understanding of the biological, social, and psychological mechanisms underlying common mental health problems in children and young people will translate into more targeted, effective, and accessible prevention and treatment.
The Theme will:
1) Bring together established experts and future leaders from across disciplines and Institutions ensuring the research has a multidisciplinary focus and integrates a thorough understanding of the wants, needs and experiences of CYP, their families and communities.
2) Create sustainable infrastructure to deliver translational research that spans understanding key mechanisms across child and adolescent development and how these can be modified and applied to advance prevention and treatment.
What work will be carried out
- Applying experience in methodologies from social science, humanities, and the creative and performing arts we will co-develop innovative research methods and participatory models of engagement with CYP, their families and communities to capture diverse views and experience.
- Working with BRC wide colleagues eg in the Better Sleep Theme we will co-design tools to identify and modify mechanisms that underpin the onset and persistence of common mental health problems among CYP.
WP3- Building on our current extensive networks we will support the recruitment of CYP and parents/carers from diverse geographies and circumstances. The infrastructure we will enhance (in family hubs, schools, clinics) will embed and co-ordinate innovative longitudinal and experimental research which allows the identification and testing of key mechanisms and novel interventions.
WP4-Collaborative studies in York and Liverpool which focus on major birth cohort studies in regions experiencing inequalities will identify mechanisms for interventions then develop and test novel interventions using the research ready networks established in WP3.
Patient and public involvement, engagement and participation
PPIEP is at the heart of this theme with work focused on areas prioritised by patients, carers, community members and clinicians. Collaborations and partnerships focus on areas of particularly high need in the Midlands, Yorkshire, and Liverpool. We will build on the work of the UKRI Emerging Minds Network led by Prof Creswell.Theme Manager, Emily Lloyd, maintains close links with national stakeholders in the voluntary, community, health and social care sectors plus educators and policy makers.
Increasing research capacity and critical mass
Prof Creswell, is the Director of the NIHR Mental Health Incubator which aims to increase capacity in mental health research. It supports professionals including providing personal accounts from mental health researchers and sharing training opportunities. The activity areas are co-led by senior and early career researcher spanning different disciplines and the funding will support the career development of postdocs, graduate Fellows and enhance PPIEP and lived experience research capacity.