Building Resilience and Wellbeing in Young People's Mental Health

Building Resilience and Wellbeing in Young People's Mental Health
posted 08 April 2016

Building Resilience and Wellbeing in Young People's Mental Health

It’s hard to ignore the importance of children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.  The number of people experiencing mental health problems is on the rise[1], and with half of all diagnosable mental health illnesses beginning by age 14[2] it’s clear that investing in children’s mental health is key.

As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure – so what can be done to promote resilience and prevention in our young people’s mental health?  What do we know about what works; and how can we bring good local practice to scale? These are key questions that will be explored with a group of policy makers, commissioners and providers at a roundtable event on 13th April, co-hosted by PPL, the Social Care Institute for Excellence, and Mind.

These questions are also the focus for a piece of research we are currently working on with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. In this work, which we will share and develop at the roundtable, we focus specifically on building upon the work being undertaken in Southwark and Lambeth as part of existing Transformation Plans.

From this work we are learning about the importance of initiatives that are supporting children to support themselves and each other, particularly around self-esteem and self-identity; bullying; resilience and coping skills; and engaging in positive activities that develop these skills, such as the Magic Bus sports programme in Lambeth[3] 

We also see the benefit of schemes that support parents to support their children, around parental attachment, family bonds and social support from family as a key to secure mental health and wellbeing, as is having a learning and development environment in the family. There are many evidence based parenting programmes with transformative powers, for example the Multi-Family Therapy Model[4] is being used in Southwark, working with groups of families and schools to empower parents to share and developing parenting skills, enabling them to support their children more effectively.

Finally, we know that whole school approaches, as well as concerted efforts from GPs, Social Workers and other professional groups offer real potential in helping to prevent mental health challenges. An example of effective service integration is the Well Centre in Streatham[5] where young people are able to access support from a team of youth workers, counsellors and doctors working as one team.

Overlaying these key areas of focus is a need to embrace the role of technology in health and social care and the need to co-produce solutions with communities.

If you are interested in contributing to our research or taking part in our roundtable, please contact us at or call 020 7692 4851.


[1] King’s Fund, Paying the Price: The cost of mental health care in England to 2026 (2008).

[2] Royal College of Psychiatrists, No Health without Public Mental Health (2010).