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TOPIC Research Group is focused on improving access and effectiveness of psychological interventions for the prevention and treatment of common mental health problems (particularly but not exclusively anxiety disorders) in children and young people. We seek to do this by improving understanding of (i) the experiences of children, young people and their families, (ii) how common mental health disorders present, and (iii) the psychological factors (cognitive, behavioural, interpersonal)  that create a risk for and/or maintain common mental health problems in children and young people (and how they may vary with development).

 We use this knowledge to develop and evaluate novel prevention and treatment approaches, using a broad range of methods (qualitative, quantitative; interviews, surveys, longitudinal, experimental, RCTs , systematic reviews etc). All of our work is underpinned by close consultation with children, young people, parents/carers, and practitioners to ensure that we are developing evidence-based solutions that can be implemented in practice. 

 

Research Studies within the group:

1. Theme Name: What Works in Schools 

Lead name: Mina Fazel and Elise Sellars

We are conducting a number of studies exploring  the delivery of mental health services in schools. For example, we are conducting a mixed-methods study with secondary school staff to find out their experiences of school-based mental health services and how these can be improved. We will use study findings to gather evidence about the implementation of mental health services in schools, with the aim of furthering our understanding of the benefits and challenges of certain models of mental health delivery in secondary schools.

2. Theme Name: Adolescent anxiety disorders 

Lead name: Polly Waite

We are conducting research on the development, maintenance and psychological treatment of anxiety disorders in adolescents. The majority of treatment trials for anxiety disorders in children and young people have either not included adolescents or include them in relatively small numbers and therefore our research focuses on identifying key maintenance factors within this age group in order to ultimately develop targeted, developmentally appropriate treatments with optimal outcomes. The research uses a broad range of methods (including experimental and qualitative methods, clinical trials and systematic reviews), with adolescents from both clinical and community settings (such as schools).

3. Theme name: iCATS-i2i (identifying Child Anxiety Through Schools-identification to intervention)

Investigator: Professor Cathy Creswell
Research Leads: Tessa Reardon, Vici Williamson, Sam Pearcey

 iCATS-i2i is a research project, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Anxiety problems are common in children, but many children with anxiety problems don't receive support.  It can be hard to identify anxiety problems in children, and make judgements about whether a child may benefit from support or not. Families also face difficulties accessing support.Our aim is to develop and evaluate a new way of identifying children with anxiety problems and providing these children with effective support, through primary schools.We are currently looking for primary schools in England with at least 2 classes in Years 4-6 to work with us on the first part of this groundbreaking project. ​Want to find out more?  Please get in touch with the iCATS-i2i Team.

 4. Theme Name: Emerging Minds

Chief Investigator: Professor Cathy Creswell
Network Manager: Emily Lloyd

Emerging Minds is a research network that aims to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems experienced by children and young people. Our members are particularly focused on mental health promotion, prevention and early treatment of mental health problems.  We offer funding for research along with cross-sector placements for researchers, training and networking events. 

We are working across sectors and disciplines to tackle 4 research challenges. Our research challenges have been developed in partnership with young people, their families, practitioners and policy makers. 

Our team