New £10m Research Centre Will Investigate Why Young People Develop Mental Health Problems
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A new research centre in Wales is hoping to discover why so many young people are struggling with mental health issues.
The Wolfson Centre at Cardiff University is set to cost £10m and wants to help develop new ways to help reduce anxiety and depression.
It will look into whether genetics have a part to play, family life, social media and wider issues such as lifestyle and environmental issues.
The £10m investment will be coming from the Wolfston Foundation over the next five years and will bring together researchers from different fields to help with the investigation.
Cardiff University psychologist Fran Rice, who will co-direct the new centre, said: "It's an appreciation of this area of research, the significance of the problem and involves schools, young people, healthcare professionals, scientists and government working together to try to understand the causes and develop new methods of ensuring there is adequate help and support early on."
Compared to 20 years ago there has been a sharp increase among young people of mental health conditions - including depression and anxiety - with one in eight now suffering suffering while many more go unrecognised.
According to charity Mind Cymru, in the last year from June there have been 21,000 referrals, while a recent survey revealed that one in seven children would describe their mental health as being 'poor' or 'very poor'.
Co-director of the Wolfson Centre, Stephan Collishaw, said: "Wales is a living lab of some 1.3 million young people. This major investment will allow us not only to understand the causes of anxiety and depression but help create early interventions to ensure that young people get the right help, advice and support they need."
The Wolfson Centre's plans include developing the next generation of youth mental health experts, holding an annual adolescent mental health summer school for training, examining data to track children over time to better understand how anxiety and depression develop and looking at the role schools play in promoting positive mental health in youngsters, including working with all secondary schools in Wales.
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