A new £35 million government-backed research programme has been launched to give more support to teenagers battling with mental health issues.
Academics will look at external tensions and genetics to ensure mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders, are being treated as effectively as possible at this crucial age, while the brain is still developing.
In the UK, one in eight children or young people are currently affected by mental health problems. Approximately three-quarters of children or young people who experience mental health problems will do so before the age of 24. Health leaders claim that early intervention has a crucial role to play in ensuring young people have quicker, better access to support and treatments.
The new programme will benefit from £35 million over its five-year duration and will look at how youngsters interact with the world, their biological background, their social relationships and achievements at school. It is open to Higher Education Institutes, businesses and Public Sector Research Schemes for involvement – building a national capability across the UK.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, who’s department has funded the programme, 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.”