Explore our key research findings which help to bridge the gap between research and practice. We provide short, accessible summaries of our research studies and evaluation projects in various online formats, such as web, podcast, blog or video.

If you would like to hear about our latest research, resources and learning opportunities on a monthly basis, then join the Anna Freud Learning Network – a free national network for those working to transform the mental health of children and young people.

Knowledge exchange

Free Transformation Seminar series: how do we think differently about mental health?

The Transformation Seminars are a series of free seminars open to the public. 

At the heart of the seminars is a profound question: 

We know that demands on mental health services are rising; we know that this increase can never be met by professionals alone. So what is it that we need to change in the way we lead our lives for our mental health needs to be met? To put it another way, how do we think differently about mental health? 

This ground-breaking series brings together some of the most eminent thinkers in child and family mental health in the world. 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. 

You can find recorded Transformation Seminars on ourTransformation Seminar series video wall and on our SoundCloud Transformation Seminars playlist.

To keep informed about upcoming events, join the free Anna Freud Learning Network.

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 for policy and practice?" in response to research findings, project outcomes and the work of our collaborators. 

So what?” seminars begin with presentations from subject matter experts. Presentations are followed by a panel discussion with a Q&A, where we consider the implications of what we are learning with young people, parents, carers, practitioners and others.   

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 seminars now: 

In this webinar, we present the key findings from the Evidence Based Practice Unit: risk, resilience, change and choice.

So what do we know about social connection and young people’s mental health? 

In this webinar, we discuss the importance of social connections for young people as they enter adolescence, exploring the relationship between social connections and mental health and wellbeing for young people. We will be drawing on learning from a variety of projects from the Evidence Based Practice Unit. This will include learning from HeadStart, the Child Policy Research Unit, and other programmes.

So What Does it Take to Effectively Support Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools

In this seminar we look at support for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing in schools. Drawing on learning from several different projects and approaches. Along with discussing research findings we look at specific approaches and explore the sustainability of them. We consider the implications of what we are learning with young people, parents, carers, and practitioners in a panel discussion.

Child in Mind podcast

We've produced a series of expert podcasts to help parents understand and manage child and family mental health problems. 

The series, Child in Mind, is presented by BBC Radio 4 presenter Claudia Hammond. In each 20-minute episode, Claudia discusses an important issue in child and family mental health with an expert and a young person or a parent or carer. 

If you have disabled non-essential cookies on this website, you may not be able to listen to the podcasts below but you can still access the podcasts via our iTunes channel and on Soundcloud. 

Visit our Child in Mind page.

 Related content

Where research transforms children’s mental health podcast

Professor Jess Deighton, Director of Applied Research and Evaluation at the Anna Freud Centre, joins host Rosie Anderson on the UCL Minds podcast to discuss findings from the HeadStart learning programme.

The episode explores how Professor Deighton’s landmark study of school pupils’ mental wellbeing shows that many young women and girls are struggling with their mental health during adolescence. The episode includes valuable insights from Sarah Reeves, Mental Health and Coproduction Lead at HeadStart Newham, and Libby, a young person from Newham.

Listen to the episode

‘Creating mentally healthy schools’ – in conversation with Professor Jess Deighton 

Professor Jess Deighton joins The Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health podcast about the important role schools can play in supporting young people’s mental health. Jess also shares insights from her recent research and from the wider literature. 

Listen to the episode

Insights from North West England: a spotlight on six areas of children's mental health

Nationally, there is a significant gap between children and young people’s need for mental health support, and the help available. This report was produced following a period of cross-sector discussions with colleagues and communities in North West England. It spotlights six areas of children's lives – six among many – where more collective action is needed:

  • The gap between aspiration and capacity in delivering mentally healthy schools and further education (FE) colleges. 
  • The gap in services for families who have experienced trauma. 
  • The gap in support for fathers in the perinatal period. 
  • The gap in effective support for young people in complex contexts or with multiple difficulties. 
  • The gap in meaningful participation. 
  • The gap between the research and the help that’s offered.

View the full report.

EBPU key findings

Every year, we publish an overview of the Evidence Based Practice Unit's key research findings in child mental health. The findings are categorised into four focus areas:

  1. Risk: what is the range of contexts and conditions that put a child or young person at risk of mental health issues? 
  2. Resilience: what enables some children to cope better than others in difficult circumstances? 
  3. Change: what influences change in children’s mental health and wellbeing over time? 
  4. Choice: how can children and families be supported to be an active part of decision-making? 

UK Trauma Council research round ups

The UKTC research round up series helps to bridge the gap between academic researchers and busy professionals working with children and young people. This quarterly publication provides short summaries of ten research studies from the field of trauma and childhood maltreatment.

Join the UKTC’s mailing list to be notified about their conferences and events, and new resources.

The Parent-Toddler Group Adoption project

Adopted children can have some of the most disturbed and traumatising starts in life, and many show serious emotional and behavioural difficulties. There are very few therapeutic services to support adoptive families with toddlers or very young children. At the Anna Freud Centre, we run Parent-Toddler Groups, which are aimed at strengthening parent-toddler relationships. We adapted our Parent-Toddler Group to be used with adoptive families. Here, we set out the learning from our evaluation of the Parent-Toddler Adoption project.

Coronavirus research

In our emerging evidence series, we searched for evidence published during the pandemic from around the world, to help us begin to answer three questions: 

  • What are the key mental health challenges for children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic? 
  • What are the key mental health challenges for 
    disproportionately affected groups? 
  • What might help children and young people to manage these challenges? 

Our concluding issue (Issue 8) summarises what we have learned and sets out recommendations for supporting children and young people’s mental health as the pandemic continues and beyond.

The emerging evidence series is a collaboration between the Evidence Based Practice Unitand the Child Outcomes Research Consortium.

Watch Dr Melissa Cortina introducing the series.

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