Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Adolescent mental health - Programmes - Impact on Urban Health
Mother and son walking down a street

Adolescent mental health

We want to find ways to support young people from urban areas with mental health issues and learn how to reduce mental health inequality in communities living on low incomes

Overview of the programme

Adolescent mental health is a major issue for the UK, with one in eight children and young people living with a diagnosed condition.

The risk factors associated with growing up in urban areas – densely populated, where poverty and affluence sit side by side – appear to amplify the risk of poor mental health. 

Without intervention or support, mental health conditions, especially those considered more severe, can have long-term impacts on young people’s life chances, as well as a high cost to society.

Children and young people with behavioural disorders are more likely to experience poor mental and physical health in adulthood, to be on the child protection register, to be excluded from school or to leave school with no qualifications, to be unemployed, to be dependent on drugs and to be involved in crime. 

We are commissioning a series of research projects to help us understand the issue of adolescent mental health better and where we should focus our programme.

Key facts about adolescent mental health

4x as likely

Children and young people from families on low incomes are almost four times as likely to have a behavioural disorder

2x as likely

They are also twice as likely to have an emotional disorder than those from families on higher incomes

9.8%

of children and young people in Lambeth and Southwark have a diagnosable mental health condition

Partnerships

We are currently testing whether behavioural disorders should be our priority because of the significant and long-term impacts they have on life chances. We know that the limited mental health services available to young people tend not to focus on behavioural disorders. And an initial investigation suggests that these may be more prevalent in our boroughs than existing data indicates. 

Our research phase includes: 

  • Using healthcare data to identify sociodemographic and geographic risk factors for adolescent mental health issues in Lambeth and Southwark, as well as the ways young people use healthcare services, in collaboration with The Strategy Unit 
  • Using conversational AI to develop a data picture of young people’s mental health from their own perspectives, in partnership with Troo.ai 
  • Exploring machine learning in collaboration with Trilateral Research, using real time data on factors that affect adolescent mental health, such as crime, to identify communities most in need of support
  • A review of the current evidence base for interventions, in our boroughs and nationally, with The Behavioural Insights Team 
  • Exploring future changes to urban living that may impact on adolescent mental health, working with the School of International Futures 
  • Mapping the influences on adolescent mental health and their interrelationships from young people’s perspectives, in partnership with YoungMinds andShift

Together we're working to understand the different ways children and young people’s mental health can be influenced by the people, places and services around them. Together we are looking for key insights into risk and protective factors around adolescent mental health, as well as opportunities for building local environments and support systems that prioritise and boost the mental health and wellbeing of young people.

Fiona Lacey Service Design Senior Manager, YoungMinds
Tamsyn Roberts, Programme Director for adolescent mental health

Have an idea to support adolescent mental health?

Speak to our Programme Director, Tamsyn Roberts

Contact our Programme Director, Tamsyn

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