Cross-Sector Placements

One of the aims of the Emerging Minds Network has been to encourage and support the development of early career researchers looking to build careers in the field of children and young people’s mental health.

To that end, we have hosted four cross-sector placements over the course of the network with some fantastic organisations:

  • Summer 2020: the autism research charity Autistica, who chair the Embracing Complexity Coalition, hosted Suzi Sapiets to investigate how we can better embrace complexity in neurodevelopmental research.
  • Autumn 2020: the NSPCC hosted Vanessa Bennett to work with the NeurOX Young Person’s Advisory Group at Oxford University to explore the Childline peer-peer message boards.
  • Spring 2021: the Centre for Mental Health hosted Yasmin Ahmadzadeh to support two evaluations of projects designed to alleviate youth mental health inequalities in London.
  • Spring 2022: Mental Health Innovations hosted Carolina Guzman Holst to investigate suicide de-escalation on the SHOUT 85258 text-based crisis support service.

Below you will find introductory blogs and other outputs from those who took part in the cross-sector placements.

Introduction: Embracing Complexity in Neurodevelopment Research


Suzi Sapiets, University of Warwick
Hosted by Autistica and working with the Embracing Complexity Coalition

Report: Embracing Complexity in Research on Neurodevelopmental Conditions and Mental Health


Suzi Sapiets and the Embracing Complexity Coalition (October 2021)

Suzi has continued to be actively involved in Emerging Minds by co-leading the Embracing Complexity in Neurodevelopmental Conditions and Mental Health Special Interest Research Group alongside Georgia Harper. The SIRG hosted an Emerging Minds Open Lab on the topic in May 2022, as well as running a brilliant hybrid workshop at our Big Emerging Minds Summit in October 2022. 

The Embracing Complexity SIRG also worked with the Language and Communication SIRG to jointly publish the “Transdiagnostic Approaches to Mental Health and Neurodevelopment” briefing in November 2022. 

Suzi & Georgia also joined fellow cross-sector placement participant Carolina (see below), and Emerging Minds Network Manager Emily Lloyd, as speakers for the Mental Health Research Matters campaign’s webinar on partnership working in November 2022.

Introduction: Understanding online help seeking of young people via the Childline moderated online peer-peer message boards


Vanessa Bennett, University of Oxford
Hosted by the NSPCC and working with NeurOX YPAG

Report: “A Community Online” – Young people helping young people on the Childline message boards


Vanessa Bennett, Chloe Gill, Pam Miller and members of the NeurOX Young People’s Advisory Group (NSPCC, October 2021)

Vanessa has continued to work with the NeurOx YPAG to co-produce a number of further outputs based on the project including a project summary and reflective blog, and publications including co-produced methodology to explore real-world online help-seeking and a practical case study and evaluation of this methodology (both published papers), and “In their own words” (a pre-print paper). 

Vanessa also worked with NeurOX to co-create an exhibit at our Big Emerging Minds Summit, “‘What’ matters to ‘who’ in mental health research with young people”, and recorded a related podcast.

Introduction: Evaluating projects designed to alleviate mental health inequalities

Yasmin Ahmadzadeh, King’s College London
Hosted by the Centre for Mental Health

Report: “Always There For Us” – Evaluating Project Future’s work at Bruce Grove Youth Club

Androulla Harris, Dr Huong Le, Zoe McHayle and Yasmin Ahmadzadeh
(Centre for Mental Health, September 2022)

After her placement, Yasmin successfully applied for funding from our second funding call, focused on the impact of racism on the mental health of children & young people in the UK and addressing our Voices, Power & Attitudes Research Challenge. The research team from the Transmission of experiences of Racism, Anxiety and DEpression in families (TRADE) project led two brilliant workshops at our Big Emerging Minds Summit – one sharing key messages from the TRADE project, and the other exploring the team’s experiences of engaging with anti-racism in research as Black researchers.

The TRADE project was awarded additional funding through our fourth funding call to host two interdisciplinary reflective workshops exploring the intergenerational transmission of racial trauma through science, poetry, storytelling, and illustration

Yasmin participated in the Mental Health Research Matters campaign’s webinar on inclusivity and tackling inequalities in November 2022. You might also be interested in Yasmin’s related blog from 2021, “Measuring race, ethnicity and ancestry in research: time for new tools”.

Introduction: Investigating factors leading to suicide de-escalation in imminent risk youth – Insights from a national crisis text-based service


Carolina Guzman Holst, University of Oxford
Hosted by Mental Health Innovations

You might also be interested in this further blog about the placement over on the Mental Health Innovations website. Carolina also joined fellow cross-sector placement participants Suzi & Georgia (see above), and Emerging Minds Network Manager Emily Lloyd, as speakers for the Mental Health Research Matters campaign’s webinar on partnership working in November 2022.

As part of their placements, participants were also encouraged to write a blog for The Mental Elf reviewing some recent research in their field. These fantastic blog reports are available to read below.