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Brighter Futures

75% of those living with a mental illness started developing symptoms before the age of 18. Which is why we’re launching a major new programme to tackle mental health conditions where they begin – in young people.

We are investing in a world-leading programme of research, bringing together scientists, clinicians, people with experience of mental health problems and partner organisations to address three of the most pressing challenges in young people’s mental health:

  • Understanding how mental illness develops.
  • Learning how to identify which young people are most at risk.
  • Developing effective interventions for young people and ensuring they are delivered in practice.

The Brighter Futures Programme

Our research approach is threefold:  

  • We’ll bring together world-leading experts in a major research consortium focused on the early development of mental illness and key risk-factors.
  • We’ll partner on a wide range of projects to turn evidence into practice and improve support for young people.
  • We’ll create a UK-led global network for young people’s mental health research.

We believe that through research we can change the trajectory of mental illness in young people

Research of this scale and ambition requires a truly multidisciplinary approach, with combined expertise from across the biological, psychological and social sciences, alongside the wider fields of education and social care. And the involvement of young people at the heart of our programme.

Our Brighter Futures Projects


Help Overcome and Predict the Emergence of Suicide (HOPES)

Suicide is the leading cause of death for young men and women worldwide. MQ's HOPES project aims to develop a global model for predicting who is at risk of suicide by analysing brain scans and data on suicidal behaviour and traits of young people from across the world.

Identifying Depression Early in Adolescence (IDEA)

Depression affects about one in five people around the world during their lifetime - yet we still lack the ability to identify which young people are most likely to be affected. MQ's IDEA project plans to identify universal risk factors for depression in young people by analysing research and data about social and family environment, stressful experiences, brain images, and biological data of 10-24 year olds from four different countries.

The MQ Adolescent Data Platform

A core element of our Brighter Futures programme is our MQ Adolescent Data Platform. We've partnered with Swansea University to build this unprecedented data resource for researchers and policy-makers to drive improvements in young people's mental health. 

Championing young people's mental health

The great shifts in healthcare in recent generations have only happened as a result of coordinated research agendas and leadership.

Our manifesto for young people's mental health charts a path forward - identifying how the general public, researchers, and government can come together to transform young people's mental health.  And through our young people's network, we're working with partners to make this vision a reality.

Download our Manifesto for young people's mental health (PDF).

Brighter Futures Partners

Our programme is overseen by a committee of interdisciplinary scientsists who are leaders in their fields.

The Foundation Phase of the Brighter Futures programme has been fully funded thanks to the generosity of our donors. MQ would like to express particular appreciation to Founding Partner, the Bernard Lewis Family Charitable Trust, for their support.

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