A network of youth mental health experts and funders from around the world have developed a global set of youth mental health research priorities that address critical gaps in the evidence base and research funding.
In an article published in Early Intervention in Psychiatry, Orygen’s Dr Cristina Mei, lead author of the article, together with a network of international experts are proposing a new strategic agenda for youth mental health research.
More than 20 global youth mental health research priorities have been developed, including population health, neuroscience, clinical staging, novel interventions, technology, socio-cultural factors, service delivery, and translation and implementation.
Led by Orygen, in collaboration with national and international organisations, the youth mental health research priorities were developed through roundtable discussions held at the inaugural International Youth Mental Health Research Network meeting in Dublin in 2017.
Dr Mei said although considerable progress had been made in the area of youth mental health, young people continue to be disproportionately affected worldwide, making it the leading cause of disability for this group.
“The research priorities are unique in that they provide a global strategy to capitalise on the growth in research that has occurred in the youth mental health field over the past two decades and to ensure that this is translated into better outcomes for young people.” Dr Mei said.
“The current gaps in the evidence base and the insufficient amount of funding for mental health research can impact the health care of young people. But by addressing these research areas, steps can be made towards ensuring that all young people have access to effective care that meets their needs, Dr Mei said.
The members of the network state that research gaps exist that are causing ongoing challenges when responding to the mental health of young people around the world.
Dr Mei said the priorities provided an immediate step towards strengthening the evidence base as well as translating and implementing research findings.
“The priorities are aimed towards key areas that are most likely to have the greatest impact on youth mental health.”
The network of approximately 130 youth mental researchers, is also calling for more investment in youth mental health.
“The International Youth Mental Health Research Network’s engagement with potential mental health funders across the globe provides a unique look into how we can strengthen opportunities to better fund youth mental health research,” Dr Mei said.
“A key suggestion was increasing the profile and scale of youth mental health research, which Orygen is already committed to and actively involved in. Long-term investment and commitment from funders to support youth mental health research is needed.”
Dr Mei said the network was committed to ensuring that the youth mental health research priorities provided a strong base for a global, systematic and collaborative strategy to improve mental health outcomes for all young people.