Priorities for research in young people’s mental health


Applications for young people to join the advisory group, and for parents to join the steering group have now closed.
If you would like to be alerted to future opportunities to get involved in the project, please get in touch with Thomas Kabir by emailing


What is this research?

We are pleased to announce we are working with partners to help set priorities for research to support our understanding of children and young people’s mental health.

We are conducting a James Lind Alliance (JLA) priority setting partnership (PSP). It will bring together children and young people (including those with lived experience of mental health problems), families, professionals and academics to identify the top 10 priorities for research in children and young people’s mental health.


Why is this research important?

Over half of mental health problems in adult life start by the age of 14 and seventy-five per cent by age 18.[1] Yet a recent survey showed that mental health professionals feel the services offered to children who are struggling with their mental health are inadequate[2][3]. In 2015 The Department of Health and NHS England reported from a ‘Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Taskforce’ committing to spending £1.25 billion over 5 years on children and young people’s mental health. The Department of Health has also commissioned a 10 year mental health research strategy that will be published in early 2017, which will include children and young people’s mental health as a priority. This project will give young people and families a voice in identifying where the important research gaps are in this field in order to influence which research is funded, and ultimately improve the mental health of children and young people.


What are we doing?

The McPin Foundation is leading a consortium of interested groups including MQthe Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, the Matthew Elvidge Trust, and Mental Health Research UK coordinating the PSP. We will be forming a steering group of young people, parents, education and mental health professionals and academics to guide the process. We will launch a public survey in 2017 asking people to submit the questions they would like answered about children and young people’s mental health. We will then organise the responses and check whether any existing research already answers some of the questions, before finally prioritising the questions through a second survey and a series of workshops. The process will result in a published list of the top 10 unanswered research questions in children and young people’s mental health which will reflect the priorities of service users and families as well as academics and health and education professionals. We hope this will guide academics and funders to important and relevant research areas.

“This research is really important because involving young people ensures that the research which is most important to them becomes a priority. It also means that time and money are not wasted on projects that are not asking the right questions. Furthermore, as a member of a young person’s group that advises on mental health research projects, I know from experience that it is a great feeling to know you’re contributing to improving practises and treatments that will help other young people.”

Tilda Simpson – Member of the NIHR Clinical Research Network’s Young Person’s Mental Health Advisory Group


What is the current status of this project?

The project is currently in scoping and planning stage and the steering group is being formed. We will launch a project website in early 2017 and the public survey after that. If you are interested in getting involved in the PSP as an organisation, or an individual, please get in touch.


Who do I contact for more information?

You can contact Thomas Kabir by email or phone 02079227875


[1] Department of Health (2015) Future in Mind: Promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

[2] 70% of children’s mental health nurses rated CAMHS services as ‘inadequate’ or ‘highly inadequate’ The Guardian (2016)

[3] 96% of professionals working with child victims of abuse say there are not enough CAMHS services to support them (NSPCC, 2016)


Find a specific project: