Young people set to benefit from new mental health research unit

Research unit photoWe have recently launched our brand new young people’s mental health research unit.

The unit has been set up by some of our expert mental health professionals who are passionate about improving mental health care for young people.

High quality research is essential in making sure that service improvements are right for the young people using them. Despite this, currently less than 30 per cent of all mental health research is focused on young people.

Our research unit will buck this trend by solely focusing on young people’s mental health.

Working closely with local, national and international academic organisations, the unit leads will pursue as many research opportunities as possible. They are committed to involving young people, parents, carers and professionals and to sharing key findings with partners.

We launched the unit at a special event attended by nearly 100 people. This included the unit leads, young people, parents, carers, professionals and partners from across Greater Manchester.

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, also came along and shared her thoughts about the unit. Debbie’s professional background is in health and she is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health. She said: “I was very impressed with the innovative research being carried out.

“It’s so important that we invest in researching the causes and effects of mental ill-health and wellbeing in our young people. I hope the research will also consider the mental health impacts of how wider policies, such as access to education, health services, and social security policies, impact different population groups including different age groups, ethnicities and disabled people.”

Emily Sykes, 17 and Taylor Rooke, 18, are both from Tameside and have received care from some of our mental health services.

Emily said: “Over time mental health problems can also have an effect on people’s physical health. I think research will help people to be diagnosed sooner, so they get the right help quickly. I also think the research unit will help to break the stigma that surrounds mental health conditions, by allowing people to better understand.”

Taylor added: “The research unit will provide a really good opportunity for young people to get involved and help to develop services that really meet their needs.”

Kay Locke, 52, is from Stockport. She has experienced mental health services from a parent’s perspective and is keen to play a key role in improving services.

She said: “Having been through some really difficult times with both my daughters, I personally understand just how hopeless and helpless parents and carers can feel.

“I’m so grateful that the research unit has been established. I think it will provide a great opportunity to take a step back and look at what’s really needed.

“It’s great that young people, parents and carers will be involved in the unit’s work, as we can share our real life experiences and help to make sure the right decisions are being made.”

Dr Bernadka Dubicka is one of our consultant psychiatrists and research lead. She said: “It’s taken lots of time, effort and planning to set up the research unit, but it has definitely been a labour of love for all of us.

"We are already involved in quite a few exciting projects, which will deliver benefits for young people and those who care for them.

“It was wonderful to see so many people at our launch event. With their support we can make sure the research unit grows from strength to strength.”

If you'd like to find out more about our research unit, or would like to get involved, click here to contact our research unit team.

Please click here for more information.

Pictured above left to right are: Reagan Blyth, director of service modelling, research and innovation; Clare Nuttall, research clinician; Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist; Dr Sam Hartley, senior clinical psychologist; Dr Bernadka Dubicka; consultant psychiatrist and research lead; Dr Leo Kroll, child psychiatrist