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Children and Young People's Mental Health Research Collaboration (ChYMe)

Chyme completed projects

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Current research projects

The CATCh-uS project focussed on what happens to young people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when they are too old to stay within children’s services. The mixed method design has three study streams; (1) surveillance study with nine month follow-up to find out where, if anywhere, patients transferred to (2) a mapping study to identify and describe services for young adults with ADHD and (3) a qualitative study to explore key stakeholder experience of transition from child to adult services. CATCh-uS found that very few of those who need ongoing support for their ADHD successfully transferred to adult services, with an even smaller proportion experiencing optimal transitional care. The mapping study found that adult ADHD service provision was patchy and even among dedicated services, few provided the whole range of recommended treatments.

CATCh-uS was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme. The project officially finished in September 2019, and the NIHR report is currently in production. The interactive map of adult ADHD services, now hosted by the UK Adult ADHD Network. Other outputs from the project including videos and links to papers are available from the project website

Main contact: CATCh-uS

E-SEE (Enhancing Social and Emotional health and Wellbeing in the Early Years) is a community-based Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) and economic evaluation of the Incredible Years Infant and toddler (0-2) parenting programme. The E-SEE study aims to find out if the Incredible Years programme benefits the wellbeing of parents and their babies, in particular, social and emotional aspects of child development. The study is being conducted across four sites in the UK and we are interested in finding out whether this programme is more helpful than services that are already available to families in their area. The process evaluation for this study is being led by the University of Exeter. The process evaluation aims to understand whether the Incredible Years parenting programmes are acceptable and practical interventions to use with carers of young children under two years of age. It also aims to explore the aids and barriers to successful delivery of the programme/s.

Main contact: Siobhan Mitchell 

Website: http://e-see-trial.org/

We are a research team based at Egenis, and part of ChYMe. Our research explores the role that diagnosis plays in society and in medicine, using diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder as a case study. On the way, we aim to celebrate and value the abilities and attributes of the neurodiverse community.

Main contact: Exploring Diagnosis

Website: https://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/exploringdiagnosis/

Twitter: @ExDx_UoE

Using a participatory approach, we have co-produced three short films with the help of neurodivergent artists, The Art of Autism and Production Company, Calling the Shots. The films were designed to raise dialogue about autistic adults’ experiences of diagnosis and how the notion of neurodiversity has influenced their lives.

Sometimes I Think I’m Better invited autistic adults to explore the notion of Neurodiversity and what it means to them. This film is accompanied by animation created by the artists. In My Head and Heart follows the four featured autistic artists asking them what art means to them with snippets about the process by which they create their art. The State of Being Different features the voices of autistic adults reflecting on what it is like to receive an autism diagnosis. This film is accompanied by animation created by the artists. If you wish to read more about each of our featured artists follow the link: http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/exploringdiagnosis/artistsbiographies/

Main contact: Jean Harrington

Website: https://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/exploringdiagnosis/exdx-films/

Twitter: @ExDx_UoE

Some 15% of UK children witness at least one form of domestic violence or abuse (DVA) during childhood; many more are exposed in other ways such as seeing the aftermath of abuse. Exposed children are more likely than those who are not, to experience mental health (MH) problems throughout their lives. There are programmes that try to prevent or reduce the damage that DVA causes to MH, but overall there has been very little research to work out whether these programmes improve outcomes and reduce costs associated with DVA. Programmes combining education, support and counselling (Psycho-education) are most widely available in the UK, but there is no good quality evidence to show if this type of support is helpful and good value for money.

We are interested in one particular programme called the Community Group Programme, CGP for short, because it has become quite well established in London and parts of Scotland. It was developed in Canada, and has been adapted for use in the UK. It is delivered by different types of professionals in community settings (e.g children’s centres). Children receive a 12-week group intervention, and a group work programme runs at the same time for mothers or female carers. Children are encouraged to recognise, name and explore feelings surrounding DVA, and to develop coping strategies to deal with conflict and other stressful situations. Sessions for mothers help them to support their children to come to terms with their experiences. The study we are conducting with the University of East London (lead) and other partners, aims to find out if it is possible to conduct an experimental study, or trial, to compare whether children who take part in the CGP do any better than similar children who receive the support that would normally be available to them. For this reason it is called a feasibility study. It is needed as a first step because we are not sure if families or the people working with them would be willing to support a trial where only some children and mothers are able to access the programme we are testing.

This study will commence in January 2020.

Main contact: Vashti Berry

Parent carers face increased risks of mental and physical health problems. They often prioritise the health and wellbeing of their children and their caregiving responsibilities, sometimes to the neglect of their own needs. Many parent carers don’t feel empowered to look after their own health. They may feel too tired or stressed to engage in healthy behaviours, or feel guilty about taking time for themselves. However, poor health of parent carers can have negative consequences on their wellbeing and on their children and families.

The Healthy Parent Carers programme aims to improve health and wellbeing among parents of children with additional needs and disabilities through:

  • Promoting greater empowerment, resilience and confidence of parent carers
  • Taking small steps that are associated with better health and wellbeing
  • Encouraging setting achievable goals and taking a problem-solving approach
  • Providing information through a group programme or online resources

The Healthy Parent Carers programme was inspired by and developed together with parent carers from the Family Faculty in the Peninsula Cerebra Research Unit (PenCRU) based in the University of Exeter Medical School. We are leading on the feasibility study and supporting the process evaluation and intervention development of this programme.

Main contact: Vashti Berry

Website: http://sites.exeter.ac.uk/healthyparentcarers/

As part of a larger project looking at paediatric acute care sponsored by PenARC, we are investigating the prevalence and pattern of children’s admissions to hospital for mental health concerns.

Main contact: Vashti Berry and Tamsin Newlove-Delgado

Website: https://www.arc-swp.nihr.ac.uk/research/paediatric-acute-care-project

Parenting Support Programmes and Domestic Violence & Abuse: We received funding from the Medical Research Council’s Confidence in Global Mental Health fund to develop networks in the UK and South Africa of researchers, programme developers, policy-makers and practitioners, to think together about the application and adaptation of parent support programmes for children and families affected by domestic abuse (DV&A). We held workshops in 2018 in London and Pretoria bringing people together. We have subsequently worked with Prevention Collaborative to produce a review for practitioners and policy-makers examining the evidence for parenting support in the context of DV&A. The review will be published early in 2020. Vashti Berry also received GCRF funding to travel to South Africa to attend design training by the d-school at Cape Town, which will be used to inform the development of workplace carer support and wellbeing programme to prevent family violence.

Main contact: Vashti Berry

The Stand Together Trial is a large randomised controlled trial (RCT) evaluating whether a school based anti-bullying programme called KiVa reduces levels of bullying in UK primary schools and if so, whether it results in improvements in children’s mental health, school liking and attendance, and teacher confidence in dealing with bullying. Over the next two years we will be working with 120 primary schools in four areas; i) North Wales and Cheshire, ii) the West Midlands, iii) South East and iv) South West England. Half of the schools will be randomly selected to use the KiVa programme, the remaining 60 schools continue with teaching as usual and will not access the programme during that school year.

Main contact: Bryony Longdon

The Supporting Teachers And childRen in Schools (STARS) 2 study is a large cluster randomised controlled trial funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EFF) examining the impact of the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management (IY-TCM) course on primary school children’s math attainment, classroom behaviour and mental health. The study involves 140 primary schools across Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Reading and Southampton and is being conducted in collaboration with the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

Main contact: STARS 

Website: https://medicine.exeter.ac.uk/stars/

Twitter: @IY_STARS

Teacher-student relationships are an important part of any UK classroom, being shown to predict a child’s future mental health, behavioural problems and academic attainment. However, there are few suitable measures to assess the quality of these relationships within the UK context. This study has adapted the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS; a well validated measure in the US) to make it more suitable for use in UK classrooms. The study aims to assess the reliability of this new, adapted scale to see whether it is a useful way to examine teacher-student relationships in the UK.

If you are a teacher teaching in the UK and would like to help us with this research, please follow this link and complete the questionnaire anonymously.

Main contact: Rachel Hayes

Sydenham’s chorea (SC) is a complex neuropsychiatric condition largely affecting children and adolescents. Symptoms include abnormal body movements (known as chorea), which range from mild to severe and may affect a child’s ability to carry out activities of daily living such as eating and walking. Children with SC also often experience emotional and behavioural symptoms, such as anxiety, obsessions and compulsions, which may be long-lasting and disabling. SC is currently considered a ‘rare disease’ in developed countries; but little is known about how many children nowadays are affected by the disorder, what happens to them after diagnosis, or about their needs. Given the impact on the lives of patients and families, there is a clear need for a study of new cases to fill this gap. In this study we are collecting data on the numbers, characteristics, management and outcomes of new cases of SC in children in the UK and Republic of Ireland, using the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Surveillance Service. We are working with the Sydenham’s Chorea Association, a family charity, and we hope that our findings will contribute to raising awareness amongst clinicians, speeding up diagnosis, planning effective services, providing better information for families, and ultimately, to improving patient care. We are funded through the British Association of Childhood Disability/RCPCH Paul Polani Prize, and the British Medical Association Helen H Lawson Award.

Main contact: Dr Tamsin Newlove-Delgado 

This project is part of a wider interdisciplinary exploratory programme of research within the Wellcome Centre, led by Professor Anne Barlow at the Law School, which is concerned with relationships throughout the lifespan and their impact on the health of the public. This strand of the project builds on the Shackleton Relationships Project, and focusses on the development of relationships skills in young people to help them to begin and maintain healthy and happy relationships, and to manage relationship breakdown. The project has several elements, including work with stakeholders to understand the current context and implementation status of Relationships and Sex Education nationally and locally, and working with young people to discuss and develop further content for a relationship skills toolkit. We will also explore the desired outcomes of relationship education from the perspectives of young people, and test out ways to measure these.

Main contact: Dr Tamsin Newlove-Delgado 

Researcher: Mr Simon Benham-Clarke

The main aim of this Fellowship is to study trends over time in mental health difficulties in children and young people and whether they are becoming more or less likely to have contact with different services about their mental health. I will use data from the three national population surveys of children and young people from 1999, 2004 and 2017, which used the same measures to assess mental health. This will be the most recent and complete available information about the mental health of children and young people and the services they use. I will use the data to predict how many young people might have a mental health problem in the future, and what services they might need. This project includes collaborators from the Peninsula Collaboration for Health Operational Research and Development, Cardiff University, Cambridge University and Public Health England, and is due to begin in March 2020.

Main contact: Dr Tamsin Newlove-Delgado