The CHANGES project focusses on studying trends over time in children and young people’s mental health and understanding population need for services and support.

What are the aims?

CHANGES aims to contribute to better child and adolescent mental health by informing efforts to improve access to the right services at the right time. Our research aims to answer four main questions about children and young people’s mental health in England:

  1. Has there been a ‘real terms’ increase in children and young people with mental health problems and have any groups been particularly affected? What factors might be driving any increase?
  2. Have there been changes in the ways that mental health problems affect children and young people? (e.g., in the impact on them or their families)
  3. What is the current level of ‘unmet need’ for support and services in children and young people with mental health problems, and are there groups that are likely to be particularly under-served?
  4. How can commissioners and service providers be better supported in planning current and future services to prevent and address child and adolescent mental health problems, and what data do they need about their populations?

What does CHANGES involve?

The CHANGES project has three phases:

Phase 1

Studying trends over time and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children and young people’s mental health, using data from the national child mental health surveys (the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Surveys, and the Mental Health of Children and Young People in England survey series).

Phase 2

Examining mental health-related contact with support and services, and experiences of seeking help during the pandemic, using qualitative interview data and quantitative data from the national child mental health surveys.

Phase 3

Understanding commissioners’ experiences of commissioning services for child and adolescent mental health, using qualitative interviews. This phase will also include workshops to identify ways in which we can improve research and resources to better support commissioners.

Who is CHANGES funded by?

The CHANGES project is funded by an NIHR Advanced Fellowship held by Dr Tamsin Newlove-Delgado and includes a team of researchers and collaborators (see Our Team and Collaborators). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Photo 1 by Chris Lawton; Photo 2 by Алекс Арцибашев; Photo 3 by Nathan Dumlao; Photo 4 by Miguel Á. Padriñán