Improving Young People's Mental Health

In person and online
Monday 9 October 2023 (11:00-12:00)

Stacey Smith

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Improving Young People’s Mental Health: From Basic Science to Co-Production Projects Linking Research, Public Engagement and Clinical Services

Research and clinical innovations for young people's mental health have lagged far behind that in adults. Many researchers and clinicians are searching for the right 'recipe' to help, but the complexity of the issue means that we are unlikely to find a magical recipe. Our research group has a strong focus on identifying bio-psycho-social risk and resilience factors. In addition to conventional research studies, we have been piloting Citizen Science methods involving young people as active co-producers of research rather than passive recipients. Project Soothe has collected over 800 soothing photographs and engaged with citizen scientists from over 40 countries. We have also launched an app feature during COVID lockdown, co-curated a Pioneers in Practice: User Guide with a range of charity organisations, and more recently delivered workshops to over 200 children and young people and co-produced wellbeing tools with 9 teams of citizen scientists across schools and other youth groups. Our experience suggests that citizen science methodology offers an empowering experience for young people. More recently, we have also launched a Reading Resilience Network, building bridges between researchers and practitioners to advance our understanding of and intervention for young people’s mental health. We have further launched the Resilience Rucksack initiative, organising ‘Resilience Fairs’ in local schools. In this talk, I will share our findings and the working process of these projects with the audience and hope to inspire a lively discussion on mental health and service provision.

Register to attend in person (University of Birmingham, Room tbc)
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Register to attend online (Zoom)
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About the Speaker

Professor Stella Chan is currently the Charlie Waller Chair in Evidence-Based Psychological Treatment at the University of Reading, as well as the Research Lead of the Charlie Waller Institute and the Anxiety and Depression in Children and Young People (AnDY) research clinic. Prior to her current role, she was based at the University of Edinburgh between 2012 and 2020. In terms of training, she obtained a DPhil in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford investigating neuro-cognitive mechanisms underlying risk for depression, followed by a professional doctorate in Clinical Psychology which qualified her as a clinical psychologist. Stella is the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator of a number of research programmes, as well as being the Founder and University Lead of the Reading Resilience Network launched in partnership with Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. She is elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Scotland’s National Academy) and the British Psychological Society (BPS), as well as the winner of the BPS Public Engagement and Media Award. Her work is regularly featured in national newspapers and magazines specialising in mental wellbeing. She works with a wide network of collaborators across academic disciplines, charities, and local communities. She is also a keen contributor to book festival events, public engagement programmes and media engagement activities.