Priorities for Mental Health Research in Children and Young People

There has been recent focus on the state of mental health for Children and Young People (CYP), and a variety of initiatives developed to improve this, such as the CYP Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, and the developing Government Green Paper for CYP mental health. However, there has been little focus on the role mental health research can play.

The McPin Foundation, a charity focussing on mental health research, recently published a report outlining their identified top ten research priorities for CYP, with the aim of influencing policy and practice.

How was the research carried out?

The McPin Foundation set up an Advisory Group with seven young people between the ages of 14 – 23 years, and a Steering Group that included a range of individuals – from research funding organisations to parents and teachers. The Groups created a Young People’s mental health survey, and asked members of the public to put forward research questions around the topic (n = 2566). The Groups then developed the largest theme identified from their data – Intervention and Services, and with the help of a second survey (n = 753), narrowed down the questions posed to 25.  The final 10 priorities were selected in a workshop which included the advisory and steering groups, in addition to new members to the project (e.g., young people, professionals, parents).

What kind of research priorities for CYP were identified?

The top 10 research questions included early identification and screening of mental health difficulties, calls for further evidence on the effectiveness of therapies/strategies/resources/training, and exploration of how family/parental relationships contribute to treatment outcomes for CYP. Further research priorities (Top 25) were also identified and were more varied, including exploring effective methods for supporting young men in recognising symptoms of mental ill-health (Priority 15), and the impact of waiting list times on treatment and mental health outcomes (Priority 21). The full list of research priorities can be viewed here.

What next?

The McPin Foundation are keen for young people, researchers, and potential partners (e.g., individuals, organisations etc.) to get in touch:



Young people

  • Young people can sign up to the Network and receive emails about taking part in research. To do so, sign up via


  • Researchers can ask the Young People’s Network for feedback on and help shaping their research that address the priorities identified in the report. In addition, the McPin Foundation are keen for researchers to keep them up to date with their research on the identified priorities. Get in touch via


  • Individuals may be interested in working with the McPin Foundation on the identified priorities – get in touch via

Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss (Twitter: @DrRMoss), Research Associate on the PGR Wellbeing project at the University of Portsmouth (School of Education and Sociology). 

Anti-Bullying Week 2018 (12th-16th November)

What is bullying?

Whilst there is no legal definition of bullying, it is widely acknowledged that bullying encompasses a range of behaviours intended to cause harm (e.g., physically, emotionally), is repeated, and is often aimed at wide range of demographic groups (e.g., sexual orientation, race, religion). Bullying affects children, young people, and adults, and can take place across a number of settings – in schools, the workplace, as well as in sports teams, in addition to online (cyber bullying). The list is by no means exhaustive.

Bullying is also common. For example, the World Health Organisation reports that one-third of children have been bullied by their peers. In the UK, Department for Education reported that 40% of young people had been bullied in the last 12 months and Ofcom (2017) reported that 1 in 8 young people have been bullied on social media. Within the workplace, six in 10 employees reported that they had been bullied or had witnessed bullying over the past six months. Moreover, within 19 higher education institutions surveyed by the University and College Union, one in 10 reported being ‘always’ or ‘often’ bullied. The impact of bullying mental health can be extensive – there is evidence that exposure to bullying in childhood contributes to the development of mental health conditions in adolescence such as anxiety and depression, as well as in adulthood.

Given the extent to which bullying can impact lives, Bullying UK (Twitter: @BullyingUK) lead Anti-Bullying week each year to raise awareness of the issue. In 2018, Anti-bullying week in the UK falls between the 12th-16th November, with this year’s theme focusing on ‘Choose Respect’.

Anti-bullying resources

There are a number of resources available, which provide information about bullying and advice on what the next steps can be.



Children and Young People


Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss (Twitter: @DrRMoss), Research Associate on the PGR Wellbeing project at the University of Portsmouth (School of Education and Sociology). 




International Stress Awareness Week – is technology making us stressed?

Monday 5th November – Friday 9th November marks the 20th year of International Stress Awareness Week (#nsad), led by the International Stress Management Association. The theme for 2018 focuses on our use of technology and how this can result in conflicting outcomes – both beneficial in terms of helping us manage our personal and professional lives, but also the adverse (e.g., stress and beyond).

The relationship between technology and stress

The relationship between technology and stress is complex. There is evidence that greater exposure/use of technology (e.g., screen time, social media) is associated with increases in biological markers of stress, and may affect our sleep and memory. The adverse effects highlighted within the literature have been described as ‘the dark side of technology’, and also encompass distraction, dysregulated sleep, disrupted work/life balance, ‘Fear Of Missing Out’, and social comparison.  However, conflicting reports exist, particularly when social media use is considered.  Increasingly, technology is being used a flexible medium to help individuals manage their mental health and wellbeing. In short, the relationship between technology and stress is complex, and encompasses benefits, as well as potentially adverse effects (e.g., stress), which can impact on our mental health and wellbeing. The resources that follow can help to manage any stress surrounding your use of technology.

What to do in a crisis

If you or someone that you know is experiencing a life-threatening medical or mental health emergency:

  • Call 999 and ask for an ambulance (or ask someone else to call for you)
  • Go to A & E (or ask someone else to take you)

Urgent care, but not life-threatening

  • Call 111 (England)
  • Book an emergency GP appointment

Use the ‘I need urgent help’ tool offered by Mind.

Further information on what to do in a mental health crisis or emergency is provided by the NHS. Help for suicidal thoughts can also be found on the NHS website.

Additional resources to support your wellbeing

The following resources outline tips for dealing with stress, which can be beneficial in promoting a  healthy relationship with technology:

In addition, a selection of resources to support your general wellbeing can be found in the MICE Hub blog post ‘Today is World Mental Health Day’ , published on 10/10/18.

Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss (Twitter: @DrRMoss), Research Associate on the PGR Wellbeing project at the University of Portsmouth (School of Education and Sociology).