Ground-breaking mental health research, tackling teenage depression

One in ten young people will suffer from a mental health problem. We have developed pioneering new treatments specifically for young people and are investigating the link between sleep and depression.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 35 in the UK and is now the third biggest cause of death amongst UK teenagers. One in ten young people suffer from a diagnosable mental health problem.

Creating positive change for a brighter future

The University of Reading is committed to researching mental health issues and designing more effective treatments for young people. Part of our work is carried out at our Charlie Waller Institute. This is a collaboration between the University, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust.

Our research addresses the vital need for more effective therapies specifically designed for young people. However, there’s still a long way to go to give young people better access to quality support and our reach is dependent on the generous donations we receive.

Pioneering treatment for mental health problems

Our pioneering treatment for teenagers with depression, Brief Behavioural Activation, helps to improve mood and reduce depression by re-engaging patients with the things they find important, and encourages them to do more of what matters. Through partnerships with four secondary schools in Berkshire we have screened over 2,000 young people for emotional health problems and have identified 71 young people to receive treatment.

We have also developed a free online mental health training programme, which is available to anyone across the world. Since 2016, this training programme has reached over 160,000 people. In September 2017, we launched a second programme tailored specifically to treating depression in teenagers. This has already reached 7,800 people. 

Investigating the link between sleep and depression

In a recent study, the University of Reading’s Professor Reynolds found that over 90% of depressed young people seeking NHS help had significant problems with their sleep. Addressing sleep problems early may be the key to addressing low mood. 

Through research we have developed our Sleeping Better Programme which focuses on three key areas which are worked through with the patient:

  • Sleep hygiene (what interferes with sleep; e.g. caffeine).
  • Stimulus control (ensuring the bedroom is a good sleep environment).
  • Restructuring sleep to enable better sleep efficiency.

Aiming for a wider reach

We see a future where teenagers no longer deal with mental health issues in silence and know that the burden can be lifted through access to effective treatment therapies.

Donations will help us to extend all strands of our mental health research and will make it easier for more young people to access treatment. With your help, we can make a local and national change.

How your donations help

  • £829,970 will fund the next stage of the roll out of Brief Behavioural Activation.
  • £211,184 will enable us to pilot the innovative new Sleeping Better Programme.
  • £1,000 will provide essential materials and resources for our university research clinic.
  • £50 provides the introductory session for the sleeping better intervention.

We need your help to tackle teenage mental health problems

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