The Anna Freud Centre’s online research library contains a collection of evidence-based material on children and young people’s mental health, written and co-written by our team. The research explores factors relating to: 

anxiety | behavioural difficulties | depression | digital mental health | empowering young people and families | early years | evaluation | fostering and adoption | intervention | maltreatment and abuse | measures | mentalization | methodology | neurodiversity | parents and carers| prevalence and trends | prevention | psychological therapies | resources | risk and resilience | social care | trauma | wellbeing

The library is managed by our team of evidence experts. It is updated on a regular basis and currently consists of research published between 2018 and 2023. 

Please be aware that links to our open-access papers lead to external sites and that the management, data handling and administration of these external sites is not the Anna Freud Centre’s responsibility. 


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  • Staff burnout in the Children and Young People Secure Estate (CYPSE) in England

    The aims of this research were to provide a snapshot of staff burnout levels across the Children and Young People Secure Estate (CYPSE) and explore whether these levels differed between type of setting, job roles, ethnicity, age, or gender.

    Authors: Lane, R., Labno, A., D’Souza, S., Ullman, R., Singleton, R., Bevington, D., Law, D., Rogers, R., Jacob, J. & Edbrooke-Childs, J. (2023).

    Read the abstract

  • Examining concurrent validity and item selection of the Session Wants and Needs Outcome Measure (SWAN-OM) in a children and young people web-based therapy service

    We recently collaborated with CORC members, Kooth, to explore the validation of their newly developed measure to track change in single session therapies (SWAN-OM). The findings from the first part of our validation study have just been published. This includes our findings related to patterns in item selection, correlations with other measures and our suggestions of amendments to the measure.

    Authors: De Ossorno Garcia, S., Edbrooke-Childs, J. H., Salhi, L., Ruby, F. J., Sefi, A., & Jacob, J. (2023). 

    Download the open access paper

  • Case study 1: Using surveys to measure wellbeing in schools: How to get a good response rate

    HeadStart areas have been successful in collecting a huge volume of data about student wellbeing using questionnaires. This is key to our aim to build evidence about what works and what doesn’t, and to share learning to benefit young people in future. Achieving this is no mean feat. This case study shares our learning about how to get a good response rate when using surveys to measure wellbeing in schools (2018).

    Download the case study

  • Case study 2: Reporting on young people's progress on intervention: Developing an intervention outcome report

    Headstart Newham provide school and community based interventions for young people with emerging mental health needs. The service collects pre and post intervention surveys to measure young people’s self-rated mental health as well as key risk and protective factors for mental health outcomes. HeadStart Newham worked to develop a user friendly report for schools and community providers to see the progress of their young people following interventions (2019).

    Download the case study

  • Case study 3: Informing system and cultural change in emotional and mental health using the Wellbeing Measurement Framework survey results

    This case study looks at how HeadStart Kernow raised awareness of the WMF and began to embed the use of WMF data across the system. Challenges they encountered include limited awareness of WMF and its potential locally, and issues around the accessibility of the data (2019).

    Download the case study

  • Case Study 4: Engaging children and young people meaningfully in evaluation and research: learning from HeadStart

    From a review of the diverse work to engage children and young people in evaluation that has taken place in the six HeadStart Partnerships, it has been possible to identify key challenges and practices that have helped overcome them (2020).

    Download the case study

  • Case Study 5: Making best use of pupil mental health and wellbeing data

    Cross-partnership case study looking at the ways schools have used WMF data to change their practice (2021).

    Download the case study

  • Case Study 6: Evaluating a multi-disciplinary children’s referral service: HeadStart Kernow’s Bloom model

    In this case study we do not outline the findings of the evaluation work; these can be found by following the links at the end. Instead, this report outlines the challenges associated with an evaluation of Bloom, the process that HeadStart Kernow developed and implemented, and the key learning gained from undertaking this work (2022). 

    Download the case study

  • HeadStart heads up briefing 1: What are HeadStart interventions focusing on to improve mental health in 10 to 16-year-olds?

    In this first briefing, we look at data on which protective factors and outcomes the six HeadStart partnerships are focusing on (2019).

    Download this HeadStart heads up briefing

  • HeadStart heads up briefing 2: What are local HeadStart partnerships doing to support the mental health of children and young people aged 10 to 16?

    Five types of interventions for young people that have been put in place by HeadStart partnerships are outlined in this briefing. They may be a useful way of considering other community interventions being trialled to compare across initiatives (2019).

    Download this HeadStart heads up briefing

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