New funding for adolescent mental health
A £35 million government-backed research programme has been announced, with the aim of finding new ways to treat adolescent mental health. The programme will last five years and will look at how youngsters interact with the world, their biological background, their social relationships and achievements at school. It will be open to Higher Education Institutes, businesses and Public Sector Research Schemes for involvement.
Commenting on the announcement, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom MP said: 'Our teenage years can be the most fantastic of our life. But there are those for whom the teenage years are the most difficult. We know that in the UK, three quarters of those that will experience mental health problems will do so before they turn 24. The £35 million government-backed research programme we are announcing today will look to better understand why so many teenagers face mental health problems, and how we can better support, detect and treat them'.
The funding forms part of the government’s Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), led by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – and comes after the government reaffirming its commitment to invest at least 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027.
The investment has also been welcomed by YoungMinds and UK Research and Innovation. Emma Thomas, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said: 'This investment in research is hugely welcome. We know from young people we work with that the factors that can lead to poor mental health are often complex, but that difficult experiences at a young age – like bereavement, bullying or abuse – can have a huge impact. It’s really important that we have clear evidence about how the circumstances children grow up in affect their mental health, and about what forms of support make the most difference.While we undoubtedly need investment in NHS mental health services, we would also hope that this research would lead to further action across government and across society to address the crisis and make early support a priority.'
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