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    New funding to develop digital tools to help children and young people

    Anna Freud Senior Research Fellow, Dr Anna Moore secures prestigious UK Research and Innovation funding for projects aiming to transform children and young people’s mental health.

    Anna Freud Senior Research Fellow, Dr Anna Moore secures prestigious UK Research and Innovation funding for projects aiming to transform children and young people’s mental health.

    Dr Anna Moore from the University of Cambridge and Senior Research Fellow at Anna Freud has been awarded a prestigious UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship for her study: Transforming child mental health: co-designing, building and evaluating a digitally enabled, personalised, prevention pathway (Timely)

    Dr Moore is one of 75 of the most promising research leaders and will benefit from a share of £101 million to tackle major global issues and to commercialise their innovations in the UK. 

    We helped to support Dr Moore in the early stages of her career and continue to provide direct funding for specific sessions throughout this latest project. The charity will play a leading advisory role in the research work.

    Seventy-per cent of children suffering mental health problems are unable to access services and those that can are waiting longer than ever for help. Working with children, families and Cambridge Children’s Hospital project, Dr Anna Moore is developing easy-to-use digital tools to revolutionise mental health treatment for the young, by helping clinicians diagnose conditions much earlier. The system, called Timely, will use AI to analyse patient data, joining the dots to spot the early signs of mental health conditions. The tool will be designed to reduce health inequality, improve service efficiency and ensure data use is ethical and publicly acceptable.

    Dr Anna Moore, University of Cambridge said: 

    “There is a crisis in our ability to support children with mental illness. Problems often have to become serious before young people can access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). 

    “Digital tools and data sets for mental health are lagging behind those for other common health problems such as diabetes where new technologies are rapidly advancing management. Anna Freud as an organisation has developed digital peer support apps for use in supporting children and young people and their mental health and it will be useful to draw in that experience and knowledge.

    “We will work with young people and families to design new approaches for child mental health services, incorporating digital tools for early diagnosis, and personalised sign-posting and treatment, powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

    “This project is uniquely positioned to deliver a step change in outcomes for children suffering mental health problems—a problem that has yet to be tackled successfully worldwide.” 

    Professor Peter Fonagy OBE, Chief Executive of Anna Freud, said: 

    “Anna Freud was proud to support Dr Moore during the early stages of this ground-breaking work and to continue to support her in her senior clinician researcher role. Her vision for using big data and machine learning for integrating biological and social determinates of children’s development and long-term wellbeing is a genuine game changer and Anna Freud is proud to be accompanying her along this journey.” 

    About Dr Anna Moore

    Dr Anna Moore is the clinical lead for D-CYPHR (DNA, Children + Young People’s Health Resource) at the NIHR BioResource, an assistant professor of child psychiatry and clinical informatics at the University of Cambridge, a Consultant in paediatric psychological medicine at Cambridge & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, a senior research fellow in child psychiatry at Anna Freud, associate director at the Centre for Human Inspired Artificial Intelligence (CHIA), and leads the CADRE (Child & Adolescent Data Resource) & Timely (early identification and intervention for child MH) studies.  

    Anna’s clinical interests include ADHD, learning disabilities, general CAMHS and young people with co-morbid mental and physical health conditions. Her research focusses on how best to improve health services for child psychiatry, with a focus on the use of digital technologies to improve early identification of childhood mental health. Anna was Director of Mental Health at UCL Partners where she developed and delivered a strategic plan to improve mental health for a population of four million by taking a system-wide approach supported by data and informatics. During this time she was an NHS Innovation Accelerator Fellow and created and led the national CAMHS transformation programme, i-THRIVE. She has a daughter with special needs and this is a topic close to her heart. 

    Innovators for the future

    UKRI’s flagship Future Leaders Fellowships allow universities and businesses to develop their most talented early career researchers and innovators and to attract new people to their organisations, including from overseas.

    The cutting-edge projects supported by these awards include:

    • research to understand how galaxies are shaped by galaxy clusters

    • studying how social media is affecting the mental health of adolescence

    • models of lactation to support mothers with low-milk production

    • computational statistical methods to tackle modern slavery