Changing Minds, Changing Lives

Building on work conducted by YPMH and its collaborators over the last four years, Changing Minds, Changing Lives sets out innovative, evidence-based approaches to help:

  • Prevent the development of first-episode depression in children and young people, enable their recovery from depression, and enable them to remain in remission; and
  • Build communities that are resilient to depression.

The report aims to bring together stakeholders across the mental health ecosystem to:

  • Build partnerships to develop, pilot, validate and implement innovations that meet real needs;
  • Collaboratively design and build better ways of working that support young people’s mental health and wellbeing;
  • Inform priorities for research and for the translation of research into effective, widely applied innovations and policies.

Depression in young people is increasing

More young people than ever are suffering from depression. One in seven young people aged 10–19 experiences a mental disorder, accounting for 13% of the global burden of disease in this age group. The condition has a vast and potentially devastating impact on them, their family, and their friends, impairing their physical and mental health and extending into adulthood.

Despite the availability of effective treatments for depression, up to 80% of affected adolescents do not receive appropriate care and 50–75% experience a relapse, even after successful treatment.

A new way forward: Changing Minds, Changing Lives 

Contributing to the need for a new way forward, the Changing Minds, Changing Lives report sets out innovative, evidence-based approaches to help prevent the development of first-episode depression in children and young people, enable their recovery from depression, and allow them to remain in remission. 

The report is the result of a collaboration between YPMH, researchers from University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing and innovation management specialists from IfM Engage (the IfM’s knowledge transfer company), which was funded by the Aviva Foundation and the Waterloo Foundation.

Peter Templeton, Founder of YPMH, explains “Changing Minds, Changing Lives offers new insights into how depression develops in young people, spanning societal factors, individuals’ options and choices, their underlying conditions and experiences, and psychological factors; and related physiological changes.

“Changing Minds, Changing Lives provides:

  • a model of vulnerability factors and mechanisms for the development of depression in young people over the life course
  • opportunities for collaboration on projects with real potential to make a difference.
    The report identifies forty-five projects to help enable the prevention, early detection, diagnosis, management and treatment of depression in children and young people
  • straightforward suggestions for how actors across society can work more effectively to prevent and intervene early to address depression. The actors include individuals and families; the health and social care system; organisations engaging with young people, such as schools and employers; local authorities; solution providers; and policy makers)
  • promising areas for further research that have the potential to underpin impactful innovations in the future.

Taken together, these opportunities can change the current trajectory of depression – and change society for the better.”

Alex Christopoulos, Foundation Lead & Senior Strategic Adviser and Consultant, the Aviva Foundation, reflected on the importance of taking a joined-up approach to understand the causes of depression:

“By identifying gaps in the system and how they can be fixed, the report identifies the kinds of innovative collaborations needed to make a real difference to young people. It challenges different stakeholders in society – from education to health, policymakers to community leaders, industry and employers – to understand their role in building more supportive, resilient communities that are responsive to the needs of young people.

“The Aviva Foundation is proud to have supported the report. The initiative will make an important contribution to the evidence base that informs how depression in young people is understood, prevented, managed and treated.”

Dr Jon Wilson, Consultant Psychiatrist for Central Norfolk Youth Service, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust concluded:

“This is a fantastic, timely document. It will be essential reading for any policymakers wanting to understand the drivers for our national mental health crisis.”

To explore opportunities for collaborating on the projects described in the report, please contact Peter Templeton,

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