NEWS30 June 2021

UKRI funds youth mental health research

News People UK Wellbeing Youth

UK – UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has invested £24m into seven research projects to examine and improve teenagers’ mental health and wellbeing.

Young people mobile smartphone millennial_crop

The projects will aim to build understanding of mental health during adolescence and why mental health issues emerge, including why some young people are more susceptible than others.

The UKRI is supporting multi and inter-disciplinary research and innovation on issues such as improving social media to help teenagers’ mental health, and using the creative arts and visual tools to learn from and support young people.

It is hoped the projects can help build new approaches to improving adolescent wellbeing, educational attainment, sense of identity and social functioning.

The projects have been funded through the Strategic Priorities Fund, and have support from the Medical Research Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Funding awards include £3.9m for a programme on adolescent mental health and development in the digital world conducted by the University of Nottingham; £3.8m for a project by researchers at King’s College London (KCL) and the University of Edinburgh on eating disorders; and another £3.8m for a project examining the impacts of adverse childhood experiences from researchers at the University of Oxford and Falmouth University.

The UKRI has awarded £3.7m to a University of Exeter project developing an approach to university student wellbeing and mental health, and £3.3m for a KCL project examining adolescent resilience.

A University College London programme to develop a school-based preventative intervention for mental health has been granted £2.8m by UKRI, and £2.2m has gone to a University of Oxford and University of Bath led project centred on young people who have been in care.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, chief executive of UKRI, said: “It is abundantly clear that more work is urgently needed to find effective ways to support the mental health of young people at a crucial stage in their lives.

“This portfolio of interdisciplinary projects will build the evidence and understanding that we need to combat debilitating mental illness in young people and allow them to fulfil their potential.”