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LifeSim Project

Long-Term Evaluation and Modelling of the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Whole-School Public Mental Health Interventions (LifeSim)

Project overview

Currently called the LifeSim project (a working title), this is a project exploring the effectiveness of whole-school public mental health interventions, run by researchers from University of Sheffield.

The project will use three different approaches to understand more about whole-school approaches to public mental health intervention by:

  • Using a simulation model (LifeSim) to predict the outcomes of whole school approaches. This was developed using data previously collected from over 10000 children. New data will be added from three studies of whole school approaches to predict how it could be beneficial over time.
  • A thorough review of previous studies, to identify effective whole school approaches’ ‘active ingredients’, understanding how they work and the conditions that are needed for them to work.
  • Running workshops with young people, parents, teachers and people who provide mental health support to get their views on the most important aspects of mental health approaches in school. The aim is for these workshops to develop a ‘logic model’, which will be used to guide future research into this area.

Project details

Mental health issues are increasing among children and young people in England, with rates of probable mental health disorders increasing in young people, which includes difficulties with emotions, behaviours, relationships and hyperactivity.

Young people that were affected were more likely to have poorer outcomes in attendance, attainment and wellbeing.

There have been interventions that have been employed in schools, as they have been identified at playing an important role for shaping the mental health outcomes of children and young people, however the evidence for which mechanisms provide the most effective, long-term whole school approaches still needs to be explored.

While there is understanding of some of the things that are starting to work in schools, with most research considering short term outcomes, emerging evidence suggests that the full benefits of these interventions may only be apparent in the longer term.

The project involves young people who are in school or recently left, parents and carers via the networks of McPin Foundation and Healthy Minds Bradford. The groups include young people aged 16-25 as well as parent, teachers and governors.

The group will have a PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) lead from McPin, who is a Peer Researcher who will also be working on involvement of the expert by experience panel to input on a variety of work throughout the project.

Work with us

We are always excited to hear from others who want to collaborate on mental health research. From delivering peer research to helping you with public involvement strategies and providing training, get in touch to chat.