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King’s College London’s Centre for Society and Mental Health

What is the project about?

The Centre for Society and Mental Health at King’s College London is carrying out research all about understanding the impacts of social disadvantage and social injustices on young people’s mental health. Some examples of social injustices are: poverty, insecure housing, structural racism, bullying, discrimination. The researchers want to understand how to create a more equal playing field for young people experiencing these issues in order to prevent mental health issues.

Why is this work important?

Most mental health issues first show up during adolescence (often defined as age 11-18). The frequency, type, and persistence of these mental health issues is affected by your genetics and your experiences.  It is important to understand how different things may increase or decrease the risks to mental health during adolescence. This will allow better strategies for preventing and treating mental health issues to be developed.

How are McPin and people with lived experience involved in this research?

Young people with lived experience need to be at the centre of young people’s mental health research to ensure it is as effective, relevant and appropriate as possible. This ensures that the outcomes of the project will be as useful and relevant to them as possible, as they were involved in creating any changes that are made.

10 of our young people from the network (aged 14-21) have formed a YPAG to support King’s College London’s research. The group will help the researchers understand the best ways to work alongside young people, to find out what the key issues are and how best to address them. Our young people will also be involved in shaping the research proposal for the second cohort of the REACH (Resilience, Ethnicity, and AdolesCent Mental Health) project. This study is investigating how life experiences affect mental health issues over time in large, ethnically diverse groups of teenagers. You can read more about it here.

What’s the current status of the project?

We have recently held the first YPAG for this project. In this YPAG, we discussed the impacts of social disadvantage and social injustices on mental health as well as young people’s concerns for the shift from being a teenager to becoming an adult. The meeting will influence the priorities for the REACH project and the Centre of Society and Mental Health. We will be holding another meeting in October where young people will discuss the new REACH research proposal.

Where can I find more information?

For more information about the project, visit the KCL webpage: https:/kcl.ac.uk/csmh/about

For more information about the involvement work that McPin are doing, please contact Rachel Temple (racheltemple@mcpin.org)