Child mental health network

Project: Research council

Project Details


Approximately one in ten children and young people have a diagnosable mental health problem. Mental health problems in childhood and adolescence bring significant emotional, social, and educational disadvantage and present a risk for ongoing mental health problems in adulthood. As such, recent influential policy documents (including Future in Mind, The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, Transforming children and young people's mental health provision: A green paper) highlight the need to prioritise the promotion of good mental health and the prevention of and early intervention for mental health difficulties in children and young people

Our vision is to see the number of children and young people who experience mental health problems halved within 20 years. The best way to meet this ambitious goal is to make full use of what is already known from developmental psychopathology research and to draw on knowledge and expertise from other disciplines to establish the best ways to enable this research to reach and benefit large numbers of children, young people and families.

In terms of mental health promotion, research has identified robust predictors of the emergence and persistence of mental health problems in children and young people. However, considerable challenges remain in the implementation of this knowledge to promote good mental health and prevent mental health difficulties among children and young people, including barriers associated with stigma and a lack of sustainable and scalable methods of delivery.

In terms of early intervention, child and adolescent mental health research has also had success in the development of effective interventions for common mental health problems, however only a small minority of children and young people with mental health conditions receive effective support. Furthermore, even where children meet thresholds for referral to specialist mental health services, they frequently experience long delays in accessing care.

This Network will facilitate novel research to increase the reach of effective mental health promotion, and prevention of and early intervention for mental health problems across a range of settings. We will bring together academics from health research, arts, design, humanities and physical science disciplines in order to develop creative, sustainable stakeholder-led solutions based on an understanding of, for example, what has made health messages 'stick' (medical history, design theory, history of design); where, in what format and how to present information and interventions at scale in ways that maintain trust and security (media, sociology, information design, computer science). The Network will include a broad range of stakeholders, including children, young people and carers with relevant lived experience, third sector partners, practitioners, policy makers, heritage professionals and industrial partners. This will ensure that the research reflects the needs of potential beneficiaries and the current practical and policy context and that solutions are developed that are scalable and sustainable to promote widespread dissemination.
Effective start/end date1/05/1930/11/22


  • Economic and Social Research Council


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