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Mental Health

In Depth

Social inequality and wellbeing

The "allostatic load" on children caused by chronic stress is a major health problem that needs addressing.

Legal Update: Long-term segregation on mental health wards

Care Quality Commission report reveals cases of young people with autism or complex needs being segregated on mental health wards.

Mental Health in Schools: Special Report

As children's mental health needs increase, schools, charities and councils are working to develop new ways of supporting pupils' wellbeing through the curriculum and improve therapeutic interventions.

Childhood bereavement: Helping children deal with death

Childhood bereavement is common but many children don't get the support they need. Alison Penny, co-ordinator of the Childhood Bereavement Network, explores the issues and potential solutions.

Guide to measure loneliness

Feeling lonely can harm children's wellbeing, so a new guide aims to help charities identify the problem.

Commissioning: Mental health transformation plans

Partnerships are crucial to ensure transformation plans deliver improvements to children's mental health, says Toni Badnall-Neill.

School mental health pilots

New school-based teams and practitioners aim to provide mental health support to pupils earlier.

NHS Long Term Plan gives young people's mental health a boost

The government's 10-year vision for the NHS sets out key pledges to improve support for children and young people with mental health problems, including investing in crisis and community-based interventions.

Advocate for young minds: Emma Thomas, chief executive, YoungMinds

Derren Hayes talks to Emma Thomas, chief executive of charity YoungMinds.

Turning ACE into positive change

Knowledge of adverse childhood experiences should be used to build children's resilience, say experts.

Social media and mental health

Experts say review of children's social media use must include technical issues and access to education.

Checks for looked-after children

Characteristics of mental health assessments for children in care are analysed as pilots set for launch.

Call to boost school counselling services

Council leaders and professional organisations say mental health green paper should prioritise counselling services based in schools

Special Report: Children's Mental Health

As concerns persist over children and young people's mental health and the ability of services to cope with rising demand, there are plenty of pockets of innovation and effective practice across the system.

Plan for closer school-CAMHS ties

Advocates of closer working between schools and mental health services outline the benefits it can bring.

Virtual leads to improve mental health of looked-after children

Leaders back calls from an expert working group for the creation of virtual mental health leads for children in care, but warn they must be sufficiently funded and have the power to ensure provision is put in place.

Lessons from Serious Case Reviews: Child mental health

Safeguarding in child and adolescent mental health services is often overlooked. The NSPCC has analysed evidence from serious case reviews to identify risk factors and learning for improved practice.

Child X reveals crisis in CAMHS

The Child X case highlights failures across the mental health system, not just inpatient care, says expert.

Youth mental health champions

Teachers are to be trained how to respond to pupils in mental distress under a government initiative

Commissioning: Children's mental health

Richard Selwyn says commissioning practice must adapt if it is to help improve the mental health of children and young people.

Tackling offender mental health

A MAC-UK scheme could point the way for supporting young offenders with mental health problems.

The policy context on Children's Mental Health

One in 10 five- to 16-year-olds have a diagnosable mental health problem; half of all mental health problems have become established by the age of 14; and children from low-income families are three times more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition than better-off peers.

Fixing CAMHS funding shortage

Experts say a new approach to CAMHS funding is vital to ensure investment reaches the frontline

Speaking up for talking therapies

Why the value of the government's talking therapies programme goes beyond recovery rates.

Bringing CAMHS to the classroom

Two areas outline how they are improving links between schools and mental health specialists.

Spotlight on local CAMHS plans

Study identifies features of best and worst local transformation plans for children's mental health services.

Future in mind: the story so far

The Future in Mind strategy promises wide-ranging improvements to mental health provision for children and young people. Joe Lepper looks at the key proposals and assesses progress made to date.

Front of Mind

Increased political profile and a new care framework offer a chance to improve children's mental health services. Louise Hunt examines the prospects and looks at the innovative work of local projects.

Good Practice

School arts project encourages pupils to express feelings

Pupils at secondary in largely Asian community take part in an art project to raise mental health awareness.

HeadStart boosts pupil resilience in Newham schools

Programme delivers a whole-school approach to mental health.

Beach workshops help pupils re-engage with learning

Supports families to improve and maintain positive mental health.

Teachers learn mental heath first aid

Helps teachers improve mental health support skills.

LifeSkills, United States

LifeSkills is an evidence-based early intervention and prevention programme that improves children's emotional health and wellbeing.

App reduces young people's urge to self-harm

Calm Harm app helps children and young people manage the urge to self-harm.

Empowering children to take control of their online lives

Free internet safety resource for pupils in Key Stage 2.

Social prescribers for children

StreetGames' project could be the first initiative to "prescribe" social support for struggling young people.

Young people express their feelings through creating and publishing comics

Knowsley Council-backed community interest company supports vulnerable young people to create their own comic books and zines to express their concerns and hopes, and to help build resilience.

Provider treats young people with mental health problems

West Midlands-based Cove Care provides step-down placements from mental health in-patient units.

Helping children get a good night's sleep

Getting enough sleep is vital to children and young people's wellbeing, yet research suggests social media and screen-based technology is making this harder. Charlotte Goddard investigates.

Evidence and Impact: Improving infant mental health

The latest in a series of articles about emerging safeguarding practice looks at the development of an evidence-based approach to design systems and services to improve infant mental health.

Young people craft advice for schools on boosting pupils' mental health

Young people in East Sussex worked with the council, NHS, schools and a voluntary organisation to produce booklets and posters helping schools to support pupils' mental health.

Youth mental health, Netherlands

Mental health problems have been rising rapidly in the Netherlands since 2015; mental disorders are responsible for 12 million sick days in the country, costing €2.7bn each year.

Young commissioners programme

Group of young people in Newcastle and Gateshead recruited to help commission child mental health services.

How to Beat Burnout: Advice for Employers

Children's professionals across social care, health and education are increasingly leaving their jobs due to "burnout". Joe Lepper explores successful strategies to beat burnout and boost staff wellbeing.

Peer mentor programme aims to bring mental health from out of the shadows

London charity will recruit peer mentors to support young people with mental health problems to gain confidence and life skills.

How joined-up work improves mental wellbeing

Schools, health professionals and the voluntary sector join forces to meet the need for child and adolescent mental health provision.


Birmingham children's mental health services have been extended to those aged 25.

Cove Care

Specialist children's homes provide an alternative to hospital and/or specialist rehab for those with mental health needs.

Music in Mind

Uses music-making to increase young people's self-expression and reduce anxiety and isolation.

Right Here

Brighton and Hove project involves 'youth ambassadors' working to improve their peers' health and wellbeing and services.

How peer education improves mental health

Programme trains pupils to support their peers and better understand how to identify and tackle mental health challenges.

How horses help children to focus

Course improves emotional regulation and thinking skills for eight- to 24-year-olds where talk-based support is not working.

Adolescent mental health in Australia

International population studies have shown that 50 per cent of mental ill health emerges before the age of 15 and 75 per cent by 25.

How street therapy lifts young people's spirits

Informal engagement of young people who are often involved in gangs leads to significant improvements in participants' mental health.

Speedy access to mental health support

Pause drop-in centre offers young people prompt help and advice on mental health problems without the need to make appointments.

Lessons from Serious Case Reviews: Health professionals

The NSPCC has analysed evidence from serious case reviews to identify learning. In this issue, we look at the risk factors and learning for improved practice for all professionals working in the health sector.

Open Talk

Open Talk trains mental health professionals to involve young people in decisions about their care.

How group support ends self-harm

Activity sessions help to reduce self-harm among young people.



Now You See Us: Identifying and Responding to the Scale of Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs in Primary School Children

It is crucial for schools to be able to identify early all children with social, emotional, behavioural and/or mental health needs, so adapted support can be provided before children reach crisis point.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Provision in Schools: Review of Published Policies and Information

DfE commissioned this study to further understanding of the extent that current content of schools' published policies and other information demonstrates relevant approaches and activities.

'Pupil Mental Health Crisis?' Survey Report 2017: Examining the Current State of Mental Wellbeing in Young People and Children in the UK

Hub4Leaders partnered with The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools at Leeds Beckett University to conduct a national survey into mental health provision for pupils in the UK.

E-Safety: Screen Time

Although the phrase "screen time" is not typically part of parents' vocabulary, the description of screen time is something parents deal with daily. Parents are exploring the benefits of screen time while mitigating the risks and managing their own behaviour to be role models for their children.

E-Safety: Vulnerable Children in a Digital World

For many vulnerable children, the digital environment can be a great equaliser, but safe online use is a basic life skill that a sizeable minority of teenagers simply do not have.

The Social Determinants of LGBT Youth Suicidality in England

International research has consistently found young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) are at a higher risk of suicide and self-harm compared with heterosexual peers.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Trends Among Children and Young People in the UK

Academics analysed trends in mental health outcomes among children and young people over the last two decades.

The Effects of Mother-Infant Singing on Emotional Closeness, Affect, Anxiety And Stress Hormones

This article provides evidence on the psychobiological impact of "infant-directed singing" on mothers.

How Does Video Interaction Guidance Contribute to Infant and Parental Mental Health and Well-Being?

Video interaction guidance (VIG) uses video to help parents become more attuned and responsive to their child's communication.

Disorganized Attachment in Infancy: A Review of the Phenomenon and its Implications for Clinicians and Policy-Makers

This review paper, co-authored by international academics and clinicians, presents a consensus of what is currently understood about disorganised infant attachment and the implications for clinical and child welfare practices. It identifies misconceptions and misapplications of the concept and provides examples of evidence-based interventions that use attachment theory to help families.

Transitioning Care Leavers With Mental Health Needs: 'They Set You Up to Fail!'

This small-scale study aimed to explore these issues by interviewing 12 care leavers with mental health needs.

Applying the Recovery Approach to the Interface Between Mental Health and Child Protection Services

This article discusses the potential of the "recovery approach" increasingly used to improve interagency work across mental health and child protection services. It also uses a fictitious case to illustrate the potential application of the recovery approach.

Trauma-informed Social Work Practice: Practice Considerations and Challenges

This article summarises current theory and research regarding the nature and long-term consequences of childhood trauma and discusses the concept of trauma-informed practice.

The Relationship Between Exclusion from School and Mental Health

Researchers from the University of Exeter set out to examine the links between permanent and temporary school exclusions, and children's mental health.

Comparing the Locus of Control of Young People in Foster Care

Research into whether the locus of control of children in foster care differs from that of children who have been adopted, children from disadvantaged backgrounds and children in the general population.

Risk, Resilience and Identity Construction in the Life Narratives of Young People Leaving Residential Care

This paper explores the experiences of transition to adulthood of 20 young people leaving residential care.

Internet Filtering Technology and Aversive Online Experiences in Adolescents

Researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University examine how effective internet filters are when it comes to preventing adverse online experiences.

Integrating a youth participation model in a youth mental health service: Challenges and lessons learned

This article discusses the evaluation of a tiered participation model developed by Headspace, the national youth mental health foundation in Australia.

"Yes. They are Listening but Do They Hear Us?" Reflections on the Journey of the Barnardo's Participation Project

Barnardo's Participation Project sought to develop ways of involving disabled children and young people in health, social care and children's services planning.

Service users as the key to service change? The development of an innovative intervention for excluded young people

Young people affected by street gangs and those at risk of offending often have high levels of unmet mental health needs.

Patterns of Referral and Waiting Times for Specialist CAMHS

Children and young people's access to timely and appropriate mental health services for addressing their immediate needs as well as preventing long-term problems in adulthood.

Special Report: Children's Mental Health - Research evidence

Four studies on: Effectiveness of mindfulness for children and adolescents; Alternatives to inpatient care; Patient-reported outcomes measures; and Child maltreatment and adolescent mental health problems in a large birth cohort

GW4 Children and Young People's Self-harm and Suicide Research Collaboration

The provision of self-harm prevention and intervention in secondary schools in Wales and South West England, and future needs.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Young Children Three Years Post-trauma

Children who experience traumatic events such as car accidents, assaults and natural disasters are at risk of developing Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, with symptoms including disturbing memories and nightmares, and feeling like the world is unsafe.

Suicide by Children and Young People in England

Researchers examine whether specific experiences such as bullying, abuse, and internet and social media use are linked to suicide in young people.

Survey of Schools' Work with Child and Adolescent Mental Health

A research team led by University College London and the Anna Freud Centre wanted to look at how schools support young people with mental health problems, against a backdrop of rising need.

Youth Mental Health: New Economic Evidence

Study of the economic impact of youth mental health services in the UK.

Insights into Children's Mental Health and Wellbeing

Researchers examine children's self-reported data on difficulties they have in areas such as emotions, behaviour, hyperactivity or inattention, and peer relationships.

Online Help-Seeking and the Mental Wellbeing of Adolescent Males

How the internet is changing the way young men seek support, as well as the changing role of the social worker in the digital world.

Mental Health Problems in Young People with Experience of Homelessness

The prevalence of psychiatric disorders among young people living in the UK who have experience of homelessness.