At the Anna Freud Centre, we are always looking at how we can support the improvement of mental health services, support and information for young people. A majority of our research work relies on participation and co-development initiatives. From applying for our Researcher Internship Scheme to becoming an Anna Freud Centre research champion, taking part in focus groups and interviews and testing new technology, there are nearly always opportunities to get involved and help us make a positive change in the landscape of mental health support.
Below, you will find more information about early career advice, links to current research opportunities and examples of our previous work from over the years.
Please make sure you read the information and requirements carefully before applying to take part. If you have any questions feel free to contact the project lead, whose email is provided alongside each opportunity.
Current research participation opportunities
From taking part in focus groups and interviews to testing new technology, there are many ways to get involved with our research and help us make a positive change in the landscape of mental health support.
Working at the Anna Freud Centre: annual Researcher Internship Scheme
Our annual Researcher Internship Scheme offers a three-month funded placement to six individuals looking to pursue a career in applied child and adolescent mental health research and evaluation.
Cultivating a career in mental health research - Professor Peter Fonagy
In this blog published by Mental Health Research, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, Professor Peter Fonagy, shares insights about his richly rewarding career in mental health research and where he believes the focus needs to be today. Peter strongly emphasises the need to constantly look after your career.
Past research participation opportunities
Learn more about some of the research projects the Anna Freud Centre has been involved in over the years. Please note, it is no longer possible to get involved in these projects as they have been completed.
Frequently asked questions
- How else can I get involved with the work of the Anna Freud Centre?
Become a Young Champion
We will be recruiting for new Young Champions early 2023. Please email us at Participation@annafreud.org to express your interest. As a Young Champion you will meet like-minded people, develop skills for the future and take part in fun activities. We provide all our Young Champions with access to training and support (including helping with expenses). The Young Champion role is for young people, 14–25, with personal experience of mental health problems. This can be direct experience (you have struggled/still do struggle with your mental health) or indirect (you are an ally of a friend, colleague or family member that struggles, or has struggled, with their mental health).
The "So What?" seminar series
The "So What?" seminar series aims to build the bridge between evidence and practice in child mental health by asking "So what does this mean?" in response to research findings, project outcomes, and the work of our collaborators.
“So What?” seminars are free to attend and take place online. To keep informed about upcoming seminars, join the Anna Freud Learning Network.
You can watch the latest seminar now - So What Do We Know About Social Connection and Young People’s Mental Health?
The Transformation Seminar series
This ground-breaking series brings together some of the world’s most eminent thinkers in child and family mental health. Chaired by Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of The Anna Freud Centre, these multidisciplinary talks cover a wide variety of subjects, such as social prescribing; belonging and our sense of place; and how neurocognitive and genetic research can improve our understanding of environmental risk.
We want a new conversation about mental health, and we’d like you to be part of it. Come and join us and help us take the discussion on mental health into new territory. Be part of the transformation.
We offer many more free learning opportunities. Find out more
In 2018, we published a literature review that explored self-care approaches for children and people experiencing anxiety and depression. We identified over 100 different approaches in the literature but found that of these, only seven had been evaluated.
This literature review contributed to the development of an online self-care resource, which was co-produced with young people. You can help us build an evidence base for these activities by letting us know what works for you, by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help your mental wellbeing?’ button on each page. This will help us decide which self-care approaches to research further. We've also created a booklet to help you create your own self-care plan and a booklet containing advice for young parents and carers on looking after their wellbeing.
To excel in our research activities at the Anna Freud Centre, we need to better understand what works and what doesn't. We must become aware of what we do well, how we can improve, and how people perceive us and our research. Your feedback is really valuable – if you have any suggestions or concerns about the content available on our research section, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How can I get regular updates about research vacancies and projects?
You can sign up to the Anna Freud Learning Network, where we share the latest research, resources and learning opportunities on a monthly basis.
If you are interested in working for the Anna Freud Centre, you can view and apply to our vacancies on our vacancy page. Due to the high volume of enquiries we receive about internships, we are unable to respond to speculative applications and advise that you check our vacancies page regularly for available internships or register an account with us to receive job alert emails.
If you are interested in becoming a Young Champion and/or wish to learn more, please email us at Participation@annafreud.org. As a Young Champion, you will meet like-minded people, develop skills for the future and take part in fun experiences. We provide all our Young Champions with access to training and support (including helping with expenses).
All our current research participation opportunities include relevant contact information.
- Do I have to be based in London to participate in your research?
The majority of our research participation opportunities are offered remotely and online, for example, taking part in online focus groups and filling out online surveys.
We offer an annual Researcher Internship Scheme. Placements benefit from flexibility and involve home working.Interns have the option to work 100% remotely or to spend 40% of their time working onsite at our London or Manchester offices:
- London: Anna Freud Centre, 4–8 Rodney Street, London N1 9JH
- Manchester: Huckletree, The Express Building, 9 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester M4 5AD
If you are interested in becoming a Young Champion and sharing your experiences and ideas by participating in research or joining the team as a volunteer for a minimum of two hours each month, you can do so from home. However, you can also participate in onsite events, such as our regular Youth Panels in our London office. We cover travel expenses up to £30.
- London: Anna Freud Centre, 4–8 Rodney Street, London N1 9JH
- Do you provide an inclusive and diverse work environment?
At the Anna Freud Centre we have made a commitment to equity, diversity and taking an anti-racist stance. This is in recognition that there is more we could be doing to improve equity and stand against all forms of racism and discrimination.
We commit to pursuing research opportunities that allow us to prioritise the voice of people from marginalised and minoritised communities through participation, co-production, peer research and qualitative research methods.
We understand that language can shape thought. Taking a sensitive and thoughtful approach to language is fundamental in our everyday interactions and the way we communicate our research.
The annual Anna Freud Researcher Internship Scheme aims to make research careers more accessible and inclusive for individuals who may experience additional barriers in pursuing research careers, or who are underrepresented in the field of mental health research. We encourage individuals from minoritised ethnic groups and individuals with lived experience of mental health difficulties to apply for this scheme.
We recognise that equity and diversity does not stop at race and ethnicity. Further work needs to be done in considering other groups who may not feel well represented by our research. This includes, but is not limited to, young people who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, people from lower socio-economic groups and people with physical or mental health problems.