About Emerging Minds

Emerging Minds was a research network funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) between 2018 and 2022. Across this website you can find out about what we got up to and who was involved. 

If you want to get in touch about anything to do with Emerging Minds, please email topicgroup@psych.ox.ac.uk

Our Purpose

At the beginning of the network our project lead, Professor Cathy Creswell recorded a great overview on what Emerging Minds set out to do, which you can watch in the video below.

Our aim was to facilitate research that has the potential to reduce the prevalence of mental health difficulties experienced by children and young people.

We focused on benefiting children and young people with unmet needs through supporting research around:

  • Prevention
    Preventing the onset of a diagnosable mental health condition, detecting signs of mental ill health early and preventing the escalation of need (from the World Health Organisation).

  • Mental health promotion
    Increasing understanding and management of emotional and mental distress through programmes to change behaviours and attitudes (from the World Health Organisation).

  • Early treatment and support
    Effective, early treatment and help for mental ill health: Accessible when children and young people need it.

Our Research Challenges

In early 2019, we worked with YoungMinds & the Centre for Mental Health to hold priority setting workshops with young people, their families, practitioners, and policy makers to develop 4 research challenges.

  • The Big Question
    How do we implement effective promotion of good mental health, prevention and early treatment for mental health problems at scale amongst children and young people?

  • Voices, Power & Attitudes
    How can we amplify young people’s voices and change societal attitudes in ways that positively impact on mental health?

  • Supporting the Supporters
    How can family members, friends and settings, such as schools, be better enabled to promote good mental health and prevent and overcome emerging mental health problems?

  • Embracing Complexity
    How can we best meet the needs of children and young people who have intersecting needs and face complex situations?
Image shows four petals. From top left clockwise: purple petal says "Embracing Complexity". Blue petal says "The big question". Orange petal says "Voices, power & attitudes". Pink petal says "Supporting the supporters".

Since then, we have worked with young people, their families, and so many colleagues across sectors and disciplines to tackle these 4 research challenges.

We have focused on fostering and encouraging research collaborations through our regular newslettercross-sector placements, supporting Special Interest Research Groups, a targeted grants programme, and support for early career researchers through events, internships, and the GROW Researcher Development Programme

UKRI Mental Health Networks

The Emerging Minds Network was funded alongside 7 other networks as part of the Cross-Disciplinary Mental Health Network Plus initiative supported by UK Research and Innovation to bring researchers, charities, and other organisations together to address important mental health research questions.

The networks were supported throughout by the Impact and Engagement Coordination Team at Mental Health Research Matters.

Our sister networks included:

  1. the Closing the Gap Network
    to understand and improve the physical health and reduce the health inequalities for people with severe mental illness.

  2. the Nurture Network (eNurture)
    to promote children and young people’s mental health in a digital world.

  3. the Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Research Network
    to improve our understanding of the mental health impact of loneliness and social isolation, and how this may be alleviated.

  4. the MARCH Network (Assets for Resilient Communities lie at the centre of Mental Health M-ARC-H)
    to understand how assets (e.g. arts, culture, parks) enhance public mental health and wellbeing, preventing mental illness, and support those living with mental health conditions.

  5. the Student Mental Health Research Network (SMaRteN)
    to understand the actions that can be taken at a non-clinical level to improve mental health and reduce the prevalence of mental health problems in higher education.

  6. the Transdisciplinary Research for the Improvement of Youth Mental Public Health (TRIUMPH) Network
    to find new ways to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 10-24 years.

  7. the Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network (VAMHN)
    to understand, prevent, and reduce the impact of domestic and sexual violence and abuse on mental health.

Leadership Team

Cathy Creswell headshot black and white

Professor Cathy Creswell – Principal Investigator, Professor of Developmental Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford

Emily Lloyd headshot black and white

Emily Lloyd – Emerging Minds Network Manager, University of Oxford

Andre Tomlin black and white

André Tomlin – Founder & Director, National Elf Service

Pam Miller

Pam Miller  –  Associate Head of Research, NSPCC

Kadra Abdinasir

Kadra Abdinasir – Head of Children and Young People’s Mental Health, Centre for Mental Health

Sue Walker

Professor Sue Walker – Professor of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading

Sarah Halligan

Professor Sarah Halligan – Professor of Child and Family Mental Health, University of Bath

Jen Martin black and white

Dr Jen Martin – Senior Programme Manager, NIHR MindTech/ MedTech Co-operative

Chris Bonnell black and white

Professor Chris Bonnell – Professor of Public Health Sociology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Deborah Chambers

Professor Deborah Chambers – Professor of Media and Communication, Newcastle University

Prof Ann John

Professor Ann John – Professor of Psychiatry & Public Health, Swansea University

Jamie Stark

Dr James Stark – Associate Professor of Medical Humanities, University of Leeds

Caroline Jay

Dr Caroline Jay – Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, University of Manchester

Emma Thomas from Young Minds

Emma Thomas – CEO of Young Minds

Advisory Group

Chris Eldridge – 
Director, Mayden

Professor Chris Taylor – Director of Digital Futures, University of Manchester

Professor Pasco Fearon – Chair in Developmental Psychopathology, University College London

Dr Faraz Mughal – GP and NIHR In-Practice Fellow, Keele University

Professor Richard Layard – Emeritus Professor of Economics, London School of Economics

Dr Alex Mold – Associate Professor in History, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Bethan Plant – Health Improvement Principal, Sheffield City Council

Sarah Brown – Deputy Head of Mental Health, Children & Young People’s Mental Health Programme Lead, NHS England

Professor Chérie Armour – Professor of Psychological Trauma & Mental Health, Queens University Belfast

Alicia Grandjean – Software Engineer, BBC Research & Development

Family Advisors – Four individuals with lived experience of mental health difficulties

Young Person Advisors – Four individuals with lived experience of mental health difficulties

Professor Pamela Qualter – Professor of Education, University of Manchester

Professor Sarah Byford – Professor of Health Economics, Kings College London

Claire Robson – Programme Manager, Early Years, Children and Families Directorate, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities

Professor Stephen Scott – Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and Professor of Child Health & Behaviour, Kings College London

Dr Rachel Hiller – Associate Professor in Child & Adolescent Mental Health, University College London

Andrea Taylor – Research Fellow in Design, Glasgow School of Art

Lead Organisations

EM logos