Youth Mental Health

Our strategy is improve the outcomes and care for young people with mental health problems, by working together to understand the causes of poor mental health, prevent mental health problems from developing, and respond to established illness by developing new treatments and services

Approximately 75% of lifelong mental health disorders begin before the age of 24. With mental health disorders in young people and adolescents increasing, the University created the Institute for Mental Health in 2017– a Cross-College interdisciplinary research institution bringing together professionals and researchers from a range of fields, including psychology, psychiatry, philosophy, health economics, epidemiology, geography, neuroscience, public health, sport and exercise science, anthropology, and social policy.

The University of Birmingham Mental Health Policy Commission has demonstrated the current funding and workforce gap that would need to be addressed to tackle mental ill health for young people, and has stressed the importance of prevention and dealing with the consequences of adverse experiences.  Using this evidence base we are working to address these issues, drawing expertise from across a range of research areas to tackle the problem.

The University of Birmingham has a long history at the forefront of mental health innovations and service developments. In 1954 we carried out the first trial of Chlorpromazine as a treatment for schizophrenia. Birmingham was the first city to implement Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services for young people in the UK (1994), in parallel with our partners in Melbourne. Findings from Birmingham were translated into the national mental health policy framework (2001).

In partnership with the NHS, we developed perinatal mental health services (1985) as well as one of the first in-patient mother and baby units (1992): a model now taken up nationally and internationally. This partnership also delivered innovations in the development, evaluation, and implementation of assertive outreach, group psychotherapy, liaison psychiatry, and street triage services. More recently, our clinical staff supported the development of the first UK youth-specific 0-25 mental health service, bridging problems in transitions between traditional child and adult services, to provide care and support at the age when most mental health problems begin, and when prevention may be possible. The NHS Long Term Plan (2019) highlights the intention for the NHS to extend youth mental health services to ages 0-25, bringing the rest of the country in line with an approach pioneered in Birmingham.

By building an evidence base and supporting innovative collaborations through its Institute for Mental Health, it aims to influence policy and practice and improve the care and outcomes for young people suffering from mental ill health.

Meet the team at the Institute for Mental Health

"It’s a crucial time for youth mental health – young people are experiencing more mental health problems and are struggling to find the help they need.  The creation and support for the Institute For Mental Health as a multi-disciplinary institution shows a growing recognition and willingness for us all to work together to tackle mental ill health. We know that there is much to be done, and the size of the problem can sometimes be overwhelming, but with the right approaches, funding, and support it’s something we can tackle."

Professor Matthew Broome 

Professor Matthew Broome 

Chair in Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health, Director of the Institute for Mental Health

Discover more...

  • Institute of Mental Health

    The Institute's objective is to ensure a sustained impact on public policy and practice, to translate research in neuroscience to improvements in treatment, and to improve the care and outcomes of those suffering from problems in their mental health.

  • Mental Health Policy Commission

    Looking beyond treatment to promoting mental health and well-being, the Commission has examined evidence from people with experience of mental distress, families, practitioners, communities, academics, and policy makers to form ground-breaking recommendations.

  • Youth Mental Health Heroes

    75% of mental disorders begin by the age of 24. To help everyone achieve their potential, we are stepping in earlier to improve youth mental health.

  • Student Addiction Recovery Programme

    The University has its own recovery programme - Better Than Well - for people in recovery from alcohol, drug or behavioural addictions.

  • Suicide and Self Harm Prevention Research

    We are working to create a transformational change to the way we understand and respond to suicide and suicide prevention in research, clinical practice, policy making and local communities.

  • Past Outreach and Events

    Previous events and outreach that the IMH and its researchers have been involved with

  • Partnership Launched to Improve Birmingham's Youth Mental Health Crisis

    Three of the region’s most prestigious organisations, University of Birmingham, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and HSBC UK have joined forces to take action on childhood bullying, a preventable root cause of mental ill health.

  • Key Staff

    Find out about our researchers who work collaboratively within this field.

  • Policy Experts

    University of Birmingham researchers and academic experts are working across all major policy areas, this guide aims to enable policy makers to contact researchers quickly and efficiently.

  • Media Experts

    The University of Birmingham is one of the UK's leading universities for research and can offer expertise to the media on many different subjects.