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A brighter future for young people’s mental health starts now

To achieve the greatest progress, you need to take on the greatest challenges. So between 2017 and 2020, we’re investing £2.5m to transform what we know about the most critical mental health issues for young people today: depression and suicide. And we’re harnessing the power of data to find answers that could transform the way we understand, treat and prevent mental illness for all young people. It’s called our Brighter Futures programme and this is just the start. 

Right now, depression is the biggest cause of disability worldwide. The condition often starts young, and can lead to a lifetime of suffering.

Right now, suicide is the second highest cause of death for young people – only accidents claim more lives.

Right now, a huge amount of data exists that can tell us about the health and lived-experience of mental illness for a young person. But the enormous potential of that data to create new understanding, new treatments, and improve access to services just isn’t being realised.

So we’re bringing together scientists from around the world to smash through our lack of knowledge in these three areas. We’re studying how mental illness develops, how we can identify which young people are most at risk, and how we can create better ways to treat and help young people.

And with your support, we believe progress isn’t just possible – it’s unstoppable.

Predicting and identifying depression sooner

What can research tell us about what causes depression? Which young people are most likely to experience this devastating condition? And how can we help people to identify it sooner?

We’re analysing information from across the globe – everything from brain scans to social research – to find the warning signs for depression in young people and develop ways that could help healthcare professions do more, quickly.

Finding the factors behind suicide

What are the social and biological factors that make young people more likely to attempt suicide? How do we know who is most at risk? And how can we help professional take action early and prevent suicide attempts?

We’re bringing together an unprecedented range of researchers from across the world to develop a new way of predicting which young people are most likely to consider and attempt suicide – offering hope for urgently needed improvements in clinical care and suicide prevention.

Unlocking the potential of data

What answers are lying unseen in data about young people in places like schools and GP surgeries? What might the signs of poor health have been before they became unwell? What was the impact on their education or employment. And how can it inspire new understanding and new treatments?

We’re creating an unprecedented platform of existing and new data, as we aim to transform how data is used to understand and treat mental illness. Our team of experts is looking for patterns and new links that will lead us to the answers we desperately need to find. 

This is just the beginning

These projects mark the beginning of our Brighter Futures programme – vital first steps in our ambitious plans to transform the future for young people through research.

And our work to transform the future for young people also goes even further than these Brighter Futures projects. 

As well as focusing on suicide and depression and data, MQ researchers are investigating a wide range of other issues that could have a profound impact on young people’s mental health.

  • What is the link between bullying and mental health?
  • How we can match children to the right mental health treatment?
  • What causes psychosis in children, and how can we limit the damage it does?
  • Can a lack of folic acid be linked to schizophrenia?
  • How can we increase the attention span of infants at risk of ADHD?

Your support is vital, if we are to achieve our goals. It will lead to new discoveries. New treatments. New ideas. New answers.

Your support will push our understanding forward.

Together, we will define a new future for mental health.

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