A charity is to work with academics, charities and people with experience of mental ill health to find solutions to the youth mental health epidemic
The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) Scotland is to lead the Scottish element of a major UK four-year project to improve the mental health of young people.
MHF Scotland is the only charity to lead eight new Mental Health Networks set up across the UK as part of the TRIUMPH (Transdisciplinary Research for the Improvement of Youth Mental Public Health) project.
MHF Scotland, which has prevention at the heart of its work, will work alongside UK universities, including project leads at the University of Glasgow, in a bid to help improve mental health and wellbeing of young people across Scotland and beyond, particularly among vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.
The UK Research and Innovation funded project will see £8m of public money invested over four years and aims to embrace insights from charity workers, health professionals and people with lived experience.
Professor Sir Mark Walport, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation, said: “Mental ill health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK, and it is estimated that almost a quarter of the country’s population are affected by mental health issues each year.
“The UKRI Mental Health Networks will take a new approach to addressing this challenge by bringing together researchers across a wide range of disciplines with people who have experienced mental health issues, charities, health practitioners and other organisations.
“Through their work, the new networks will further our understanding about the causes, development and treatments of a wide range of mental health issues.”
MHF Scotland will work with a range of stakeholder groups including young people, health practitioners, policy makers and voluntary organisations throughout the project.
Head of MHF Scotland Lee Knifton said: “We are delighted to have been selected as the lead charity partner on such an important and innovative project. We know from our research just how fundamental it is to get it right when it comes to young people’s mental health and wellbeing, to help prevent problems in later life.
“Young people today live in an ever-changing environment, driven by changes in technology, communications and the media, and are under a great deal of pressure to cope with and adapt to these changes. This new network will play a crucial role in looking at key ways we can help to improve and protect their mental health and wellbeing, now and in the future.”
The new network will begin work in Autumn 2019.