Who We Are

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has developed and delivered pioneering mental health care for over 60 years. 

Anna Freud LP LO 9007.jpg

Our aim is to transform current mental health provision in the UK by improving the quality, accessibility and effectiveness of treatment. 

We bring together leaders in neuroscience, mental health, social care and education to work together to improve understanding and practice.

Our goal is to develop, disseminate and deliver the best possible evidence-based treatment, through scientific innovation, research and collaboration and underpinned by the direct experience and insight of children and their families. This goal can’t be achieved on our own.

We believe that every child and their family should be at the heart of the care they receive, working in partnership with professionals. We respect difference and value diversity.

Our vision

Our vision is a world where children and families are supported effectively to build on their strengths and to achieve their goals in life.

We will continue to promote resilience and wellbeing in children, young people and families, as we have for over 60 years.

Our mission

To transform the experience of children, young people and their families with mental health issues we:

  • Carry out research to improve understanding of mental health and resilience and to evaluate and improve the treatments and services children and families are offered. Develop new approaches, tools and services that aim to support children, young people and families in distress.
  • Teach and train a new generation of clinicians and researchers in the latest skills and tools to improve mental health globally.
  • Take a leading role in the development of policy and practice in the UK and beyond to ensure that it is built on science, tested experience and has the input of children, young people and their families.
  • Creatively collaborate nationally and internationally in partnerships which jointly develop a step change in child mental health and wellbeing.                                                                                                                                                                  

Our principles

All of our work is guided by three principles:

  • Children, young people and families are at the heart of everything we do.
  • We are committed to discovering and sharing the best way to help children, young people, families, carers and professionals affected by mental health problems.
  • We aim to strengthen our impact through collaboration and partnership.

Why we do it

Mental ill health devastates lives. It is a complex issue, especially when it comes to children and young people, and there is no simple answer.

One in ten children and young people between the ages of five and 16 have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder. For many problems persist into adulthood.Yet in the UK, children and young people receive less than 5% of mental health care funding.

Thousands of young people and their families dealing with often profound and complex mental health problems are being failed – fewer than 35% of young people with mental health problems get any help at all.

We passionately believe a step change is needed to radically improve the state of children’s mental health care in England and elsewhere. We are leading the way by campaigning for and creating mental health services built around the needs and experiences of children, young people and their families and not around the institutions who deliver them. Find Out More about our commitment to Transforming Children's Mental Health