We’ve prioritised 4 research challenges that we believe research across disciplines and sectors can help address. 

These research challenges were prioritised by young people, families, practitioners and policy makers; in partnership with Young Minds and the Centre for Mental Health. 

They all focus on improving mental health promotion, prevention and early treatment to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems experienced by children and young people.

1. 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?

  1. How do we target known protective, risk and/or maintenance factors in order to ultimately implement effective promotion, prevention and treatment?
  2. How do we deliver models and/or interventions that have already been shown to be effective, at scale (and in ways that are accessible and continue to be effective)?

Our stakeholder engagement work particularly emphasised the need to include children and young people whose situations and/or characteristics place them at particular risk and/or children & young people with unmet needs.

2. Embracing complexity

How can we best meet the needs of children and young people who have intersecting needs and face complex situations in order to promote good mental health, prevent the development of mental health problems and tackle mental health problems early?

Our stakeholder engagement work particularly highlighted the importance of addressing the needs of children and young people who:

  • Are not in school or at risk of being excluded from school
  • Have neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Have special educational needs
  • Experience communication challenges
  • Experience physical health conditions
  • Have behavioural difficulties

3. Voices, power and attitudes

How can young people’s voices and power be amplified and heard in ways that has a positive impact on their and others’ mental health and wellbeing?

How can societal values, attitudes and behaviours be changed in ways that have a positive impact on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing?

4. Supporting the supporters

How can young people be better enabled to help each other promote good mental health and prevent and overcome emerging mental health problems?

How can family members be supported to help promote children’s good mental health and overcome emerging mental health problems.

How can settings and activities where young people do or could have regular interactions with adults (e.g.: football club, GP surgery, school) support mental health promotion, prevention and early treatment?