Youth Mental Health

We are working to transform the way services view and treat mental ill health, and improve care and outcomes for young people.

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 have created the Institute for Mental Health – a multidisciplinary research institution bringing together professionals and researchers from a range of fields, including clinical psychiatry, neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and ethics, and social policy. 

The University of Birmingham Mental Health Policy Commission has demonstated 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 very strong history of mental health research and innovation, and established partnerships with practice in the NHS.  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.

  • Professor Matthew Broome is researching the onset of mental disorders focuses on schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, and mood instability. Research has demonstrated that early intervention in the course of a mental health disorder can prevent the illness from developing altogether or improve prognosis.
  • Professor Lisa Bortolotti works in the philosophy and ethics of mental health and leads Project PERFECT, which aims to undermine the stigma associated with mental ill health by identifying breaks in rationality across clinical and non-clinical populations, and acknowledging that some of the behaviour symptomatic with mental health issues can also have unexpected benefits.
  • Professor Rachel Upthegrove’s work includes investigating early intervention into what are often still considered ‘severe’ mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, and questions how we can predict the onset of ‘mental illness’, how early is ‘early’ when it comes to intervention, and what these interventions should be. Rachel is joint lead for the 'Psychosis Immune Mechanism Stratified Medicine Study' investigating the association and explore causal mechanisms between increased innate inflammation and psychosis, and leading a study looking at antidepressant for the prevention of DEPression following first episode Psychosis trial (ADEPP)
  • Dr Maria Michail’s research focusses on the crucial role played by primary care, who are often the first and last healthcare contact for those who die by suicide whilst Dr Karen Newbigging  and Professor Jerry Tew’s work highlights power and injustice within mental health.  
  • Professor Steven Marwaha is an academic Psychiatrist whose main interest is in early intervention and mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder and depression. His work focusses on pathways to illness and care, and ways of improving the clinical outcomes of this group using both pharmacological and psychological interventions.

Meet the full team at the Institute for Mental Health.

The strength of Youth Mental Health research at the University of Birmingham lies in its close collaboration with other academics and researchers, NHS partners and clinicians, professionals, charities and service users.  It is through this shared knowledge and understanding, and the strong support and challenge of young people that it aims to make a lasting impact to improve the care and outcomes for young people suffering from problems in their 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.

  • PERFECT Project

    The project aims to establish whether cognitions that are inaccurate in some important respect can ever be good from a pragmatic or an epistemic point of view.

  • 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.

  • The PRONIA Project

    Birmingham is one of 18 partners working to develop a personalised prognostic tool for early psychosis management

  • The contribution of the voluntary sector to mental health crisis care in England

    Rather than accessing care from statutory services such as the NHS or local authority, some people experiencing a mental health crisis turn to charities and voluntary groups for support.

  • 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.