Improving support for young people with co-morbid physical and mental health problems

About 10% of young adolescents have emotional and behavioural problems associated with functional impairment. If untreated, these problems may affect educational and occupational attainment and increase the future risk of mental ill-health. They can also complicate management of common physical disorders, like diabetes and asthma. Early intervention will improve adult outcomes and enable savings in health, social services and justice system expenses. This project is, in collaboration with the ‘Child and Adolescent Health theme‘, enhancing a Department for Education funded national trial of the IncludeME! Portal for young people with emotional and conduct problems in schools and MyPlace Centres. We are using qualitative and quantitative methods in a sample of patients with both physical and mental health problems, selected from the national sample already recruited to assess IncludeME!’s utility for young people with physical and mental health co-morbidity. We are also addressing the portal’s cultural acceptability for different ethnic groups.

Following modification the intervention is being be piloted in selected east London schools to test its acceptability, feasibility, and perceived usefulness and further modified as necessary. Schools, parents and teachers are being engaged to inform them about the intervention in preparation for implementation across the NIHR CLAHRC North Thames area. Chronic conditions in adolescence impact upon a young person’s psycho-social health and well-being. The results of this project will benefit young people with additional needs by fostering emotional resilience, and providing them with the resources to manage both the physical and emotional challenges associated with a having a chronic illness.

Principal investigators: Dr Miranda Wolpert, UCL & Professor Stephen Stansfeld, Queen Mary University of London

Start date and duration: January 2014, five years

Partners and collaborators involved: UCL; Queen Mary University of London; Anna Freud Centre