FAMILY COMPONENT OF SCHOOL APPROACHES TO PROMOTING MENTAL HEALTH

INITIATOR FUND 

Project period: February – June 2019 

GW4 community leads 
University of Bath: Janet Goodall 
University of Bristol:  Judi Kidger 
Cardiff University: Jeremy Segrott (PI) 
University of Exeter: Katrina Wyatt 

Project overview 

We will form an interdisciplinary collaboration to develop an intervention to strengthen the family component of a Health Promoting School approach in secondary schools. 

Background 

This collaboration addresses the grand challenge area of Sustainable health and wellbeing, focusing on young people’s mental health – a key public health priority for both UK and Welsh governments. High rates of mental health problems during adolescence (10-19 years) have long-term consequences for individuals’ health and significant societal impacts. Three quarters of mental disorders have their onset before age 18 years, peaking from 8-15 years, making adolescence a critical period for promoting mental health and preventing conditions such as anxiety and depression. 

Secondary schools play a critical role in promoting young people’s health and wellbeing and are an important setting for intervention delivery. There is increasing emphasis on a Health Promoting School approach, which promotes and connects activities in the curriculum, school environment (e.g. school policies that affect wellbeing), and the role of parents and other carers. Involvement of parents/carers is important because it can help support intervention activities delivered in school (e.g. reinforcing key messages) and because schools can provide support for families and parenting. Interventions which involve parents/carers have shown some evidence of effectiveness. However, the family component of school-based interventions to promote young people’s health is often missing or poorly developed. 

Project summary 

We formed an interdisciplinary collaboration which began development of a feasible and acceptable intervention to strengthen the family component of a Health Promoting School approach in secondary schools. Our collaboration brought together leading researchers in the four GW4 institutions from education, health promotion, family relationships, and school-based interventions. It enabled us to form a strong interdisciplinary team, putting us in a competitive position to leverage further funding to develop our proposed programme of research going forward. 

Community site (GW4 Portal)