Research Bulletins

  • 'Physical activity interventions for depression in young people'

    ‘Lifestyle medicine’ – which refers to low-cost, low-risk interventions that focus on factors such as physical activity, sleep, and nutrition – is increasingly seen as an important part of holistic mental health care. To achieve full recovery from mental ill-health, strategies are needed that target the symptoms and functional impairments, as well as the negative physical health consequences that commonly go hand-in-hand (Sarris et al., 2014). In the context of depression, physical activity has been suggested as a stand-alone or add-on treatment, both for its potential mood-boosting properties and its ability to produce physical health benefits (Salmon, 2001). This research bulletin provides an overview of recent evidence for the use of physical activity interventions for young people (12-25 years) experiencing depression.

  • 'Vocational interventions for young people with mental Ill-health'

    Like their peers, most young people with mental ill-health want to work and/or study. For a variety of reasons however, the outcome of meaningful paid employment, vocational training and/or higher education may not be achieved by a significant proportion. This Research Bulletin considers the evidence regarding the reasons for impaired vocational outcomes in young people with mental ill-health and how education and employment opportunities can be both enhanced and ultimately fulfilled as part of mental health care and treatment.

  • 'Borderline Personality Disorder: stigma and young people'

    Borderline personality disorder (BPD) has been identified as the most stigmatised psychiatric diagnosis. Stigma is of understandable concern to young people and families. Stigma not only affects clients and families, but also clinicians, making them reluctant to diagnose BPD, particularly in young people, for fear of rejection and discrimination affecting their clients. This research bulletin aims to review and integrate research relating to stigma, BPD and young people, and the influence this then has on diagnosis.

  • 'Food for thought: the relationship between diet and outcomes for depression and anxiety'

    The question of whether what someone eats can affect their mental health has increasingly become a focus of research over the last decade. It has attracted such interest because of changes to the western diet (and lifestyle) that have seen a move away from traditional food intake to a diet high in sugar, fat and nutrient-poor and processed foods. The focus on whether an improved diet can improve mental health is also part of a wider effort to increase the availability of low-cost, low-risk interventions that can target modifiable risk factors for mental illnesses (e.g. exercise interventions). This research bulletin explores the latest evidence on the relationship between diet and outcomes for depression and anxiety.

  • 'E-mental health: the future of youth mental health?'

    The delivery of mental health interventions via technology such as smart phones, computers or the internet is now widespread and can be expected to become more common. Such ‘e-mental health’ interventions are cost-effective and accessible and therefore have the potential to reach a significant portion of people who require mental health assistance. This may be true particularly in youth mental health. This research bulletin presents a sample of the most recent research into the acceptability and effectiveness of e-mental health interventions, along with research into methods for evaluating their quality and usefulness. It then considers how e-mental health may be integrated into clinical practice and identifies questions for future research.

  • 'Self-harm and young people'

    Self-harm among young people is a complex and significant public health issue. Despite considerable research investigating the characteristics, reasons and motivations for self-harm, it is a behaviour that remains largely misunderstood and highly stigmatised in the community. Young people experiencing mental ill-health are a group at increased risk of engaging in self-harm, yet little is known about effective therapeutic interventions. This research bulletin summarises findings from recent literature and identifies opportunities both in clinical practice and research to develop and trial new therapeutic approaches.

  • 'Does Gatekeeper Training Prevent Suicide in Young People?'

    Comprehensive suicide prevention programs often include gatekeeper training as a core component of a multifaceted approach. Evaluations of gatekeeper training have largely focused on the impact on gatekeepers, rather than on preventive effects for the targeted population. Evidence exists for the acceptability and efficacy of gatekeeper training across a broad range of settings for improving the knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy and perceived competence of gatekeepers in the short-term. The impact on help-seeking and suicidal behaviours is less clear and it is important to examine whether gatekeeper training does indeed have an effect on the suicide risk and behaviours of the people the intervention is ultimately targeted towards. This research bulletin summarises findings from controlled trials that have investigated the impact on suicidal behaviours in young people following the delivery of gatekeeper training.

  • 'Youth partnerships in mental health'

    Youth participation models to facilitate partnerships between young people and services have received considerable interest of late. High response rates to such initiatives indicate that young people want to be involved at the process level and organisations and clinicians are generally enthusiastic about incorporating such models into existing services. However, the implementation of youth participation models in the mental health setting can be challenging and often experience high disengagement rates from young people over time. This research bulletin presents some of the lessons learnt from recent evaluations of a number of models implemented across various domains of mental health.

  • 'What’s the evidence for third wave cognitive behaviour therapies for depression in young people?'

    The third wave of cognitive behaviour therapies (CBT) is an evolving area of mental health treatment that has received considerable interest in recent years. They consist of novel therapeutic approaches characterised by themes such as mindfulness, acceptance, dialectics, and cognitive fusion. This research bulletin reviews the evidence for third wave CBT interventions in treating depressive symptoms in young people, with a focus on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and Mindfulness Based Therapy.  

  • 'Treating adolescents experiencing depression - What aspects of CBT matter most?'

    Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is recommended as a first-line treatment for moderate and severe depression in adolescents (NICE, 2005). It is also recommended for persistent mild depression that doesn’t respond to less intensive treatments such as supportive counselling, group CBT, or guided self-help.This research bulletin provides a review of recent evidence for the use of CBT with adolescents experiencing depression, with a particular focus on what components of CBT are important when working with this population (e.g., behavioural activation, cognitive restructuring, etc.). This is to assist clinicians who work with adolescents experiencing depression to understand how they may best cater the treatment to meet the needs of adolescents and to highlight potential innovations in the field.