Starting Well: Children's Mental Health

Starting Well: Early detection and intervention of mental health problems in children and young people.

Research Leads:

Professor David Fowler, University of Sussex Starting Well: CYP Mental Health Theme Lead

Becca Randell, Implementation Manager, Children and Young People’s Mental Health - becca.randell@nhs.net

Leanne Bogen-Johnston, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Children and Young People's Mental Health, L.R.Bogen-Johnston@sussex.ac.uk

Georgie Gremesty, Implementation Research Assistant, Children and Young People’s Mental Health, georgie.gremesty@spft.nhs.uk

Yelena Zylko, Public Advisor, Children and Young People's Mental Health

Starting Well: Children's Mental Health Motif
Starting Well: Children's Mental Health Showcase

Starting Well: Children and Young People's Mental Health

The Children and Young People's Mental Health theme works to enable and enrich approaches to research, evaluation and intervention development and implementation.

We will focus on early detection and intervention of mental health problems in children through, for example: identifying screening strategies, identifying critical periods for early intervention and helping shape targeted, preventative and developmentally appropriate interventions. 

The Starting Well: Children and Young People's Mental Health Subthemes include:

  • Severe mental health problems in adolescence and neurodiversity
  • School based interventions
  • Parenting
  • Seldom heard groups of young people and communities

 

 

Current Projects

Zoom or Room - Online v in-person therapy?

guidelines

A team of researchers at the University of Sussex have launched a set of guidelines to help practitioners provide better support to parents and children accessing mental health services online.

The Guidelines for Using Online Therapeutic Intervention follows a research project, “Zoom or Room” - Online v in-person therapy? Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration, Kent Surrey and Sussex and supported by Kent Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network that took place last year and looked at the effectiveness and guidance for in-person versus online intervention session.

For more information please click here

Download a copy of the guidelines here.

Video: Online intervention guidance for employers
Leaflet: Online intervention guidance for employers

Video: Online intervention guidance for practitioners
Leaflet: Online intervention guidance for practitioners

Video: Online intervention guidance for clients
Leaflet: Online intervention guidance for clients

Video: Online intervention guidance for groups
Leaflet: Online intervention guidance for groups

Further information University of Sussex's Interactions: Zoom or Room project

The Whole School Approach within Mental Health Support Teams

Whole School Approach Best Practice Review: Evaluation

WSA MHST

A review and evaluation of the work undertaken by Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) supporting schools to deliver whole school approaches to emotional wellbeing and mental health across east and south east England has generated interest nationally and locally.  The research, launched today (7 December), was undertaken by academics from the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, in participation with the Charlie Waller Trust.

For more information please click here.

The Best Practice Review of Whole School Approach (WSA) within MHSTs in the South-East and East of England: Executive summary

Best Practice Review of Whole School Approach within MHSTs in the South-East and East of England: Evaluation Report

Best Practice Review of the Whole School Approach (WSA) within MHSTs in the South-East and East of England: Summary of Evaluation.

Whole School Approach Pupil session plan - KS2

Whole School Approach Pupil session plan - KS3

Best Practice Review of Whole School Approach in MHSTs – Literature Review Final Report

Best Practice Review of Whole School Approach in MHSTs – Literature Search Summaries 

For more information on this report click here.

To view the recording of the Best Practice Review of Whole School Approach to Mental Health Support Teams Webinar click here.

How can you best support the implementation of the WSA to Mental Health within your role?  Click here to view the responses.

Whole School Approach Best Practice Review: Next Steps & Measuring Impact

pencils

More than 100 stakeholders from mental health support teams (MHSTs), from across the east and south east of England, came together in September to discuss their approaches to delivering the whole school approach within mental health support in schools and how this impact can be measured.

Led by Kent Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network and NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS), in collaboration with the Department for Education (DfE), the Whole School Approach Best Practice Review of Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) - Next Steps & Measuring Success event was an opportunity for mental health support staff to discuss their team’s approach.

To read the full news story please click here

To download an event summary and presentations please click here

To view break out rooms discussion notes please click here.

To view a video of the event please click here

Beyond Lockdown – Impact Of COVID-19 On Care Leavers

care eavers

Many young people can leave the care system feeling unprepared, financially insecure, in poor mental health and without the support networks most of us take for granted. This can mean care leavers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and lockdown.

To further our understanding about the impact of COVID-19 on care leavers’ wellbeing, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS) commissioned research into the impact of COVID-19 on the daily life and wellbeing of care leavers, focusing on what support they need as lockdown ends.  The Beyond Lockdown research team, which included a partnership between University of Sussex and Creative Research Collective, undertook the research from June until December 2020.   

Click here for resources and more information.

Migrant Mental Health

Migrant CoE image 002

Dr. Leanne Bogen-Johnston, Post Doc within ARC KSS Starting Well Theme and Sarah Newman, a student from the University of Sussex, have undertaken a mapping exercise of emotional wellbeing and mental health services for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) across Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The report provides a high-level overview of key demographics and highlights the support services available in Surrey, Kent and Medway, Brighton and Hove, West and East Sussex. This report should be used to help support and inform implementation and future research.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Mapping Report 2022

Migrant Mental Health Community of Experience Summary

Pan-Sussex Children and Young People’s Mental Health Digital Review

pan sussex

The report, the Pan-Sussex Children and Young People’s Mental Health Digital Review, is based on the experiences and perceptions of young people who shared their views in a survey and took part in a number of events over the summer. The survey aimed to identify gaps in digital provision of Children and Young Peoples’ (CYP) mental health and emotional wellbeing services (age up to 25) in Sussex and to find out from young people how services could be improved.

Key findings include:

• 85% said online mental health support was useful
• 66% of young people accessed online support for the first time during the pandemic
• 60% of young people said they would like a mixture of face-to-face and online support in the future
• 27% were referred to online services by their GP
• 19% had existing therapy moved online due to the pandemic.

The report also calls for a Sussex-wide CYP Mental Health Digital Strategy which should include principles for developing digital solutions, implementing digital working and digital ambitions co-produced by young people. It recommends that the strategy should be embedded within the emerging Sussex-wide CYP Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy and aligned to Sussex Health and Care Partnership’s digital ambition.

To find out  more click here

To read the full report, download it here.

Click here to view a summary of the research.

DisCOVery - Exploring the mental health impact of Covid-19 for young people in high risk and hard to reach groups

Picture1

Funded by ARC Kent, Surrey and Sussex, led by University of Sussex. the DisCOVery study explored the social and psychological effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable young people from deprived rural and coastal communities.

Between January 2021 to January 2022, data was collected via one-to-one interviews and an online survey. The aim of the research was to provide an evidence base upon which to develop and evaluate psychosocial interventions for young people and wider communities within Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Norfolk.

Click here to view the disCOVery presentation 

Youth Mental Health

YS 1

Around 90 people from in and around Sussex came together for the Sussex Youth Mental Health Summit event held on 16 June to pledge their support and help develop ambitions around community-based emotional wellbeing and mental health youth interventions for 16-25 year olds.

Representatives for the education, voluntary, community sector, children's social care, local authorities, Integrated Care System, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, as well as young people themselves, attended at the Sussex Youth Mental Health 'call to action' Summit, in Brighton, to find ways to change and help reform mental health and wellbeing services for young people.

The event, co-ordinated by Kent, Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Network (KSS AHSN)NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS) in partnership with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) and was co-facilitated by young people from Varndean School in Brighton.

Click here to read more.

Visual Summary with logos

At the Sussex Youth Mental Health Summit event discussions among young people and key stakeholders were captured creatively in a three meter long picture. From left to right, the picture illustrates what we are doing at the moment, what gets in the way and what will help, followed by pledges that were made on the day by stakeholders. 

The picture illustrates:

  • What we are doing at the moment including: coproduction, current research such as the Community-based Mental Health Intervention for Young People within Deprived Social Communities (CATALYST) project; support for vulnerable groups; one to one sessions and digital support.
  • Examples of what gets in the way: access capacity, engagement, funding, miscommunication and anxiety.
  • And, things that will help include trust, for example: communication, breaking down stigma, coproduction and partnerships. 

A number of commitments and pledges were made by all the stakeholders and young people, some examples include: investigate schools joining together to share best practice, propose the introduction of youth work roles, make parents aware of our services and enable young people to use them.

To view the image in a larger format please click here.

Children and Young People's Mental Health, Neurodevelopment, Neurodiversity and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Community of Research Practice

neuro porject

In September, the Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS) held an in-person, community of practice event on Children and Young People's Mental Health, Neurodevelopment, Neurodiversity and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), at the University of Sussex.

Chaired by Becca Randell, Implementation Manager for the Starting Well, ARC KSS, and Dr Ian Male, Director of Research at Sussex Community Foundation Trust, the event brought together more than 40 delegates from different academic institutions, voluntary and community organisations, as well as NHS England, to learn about research projects in the region, share best practice and identify research gaps.

To read more about the event click here.

For a summary of the event and resources click here.

To read our public contributor's thoughts on the event click here

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