NUI Galway-led Consortium Awarded Major Funding for Research on Youth Mental Health

Professor Gary Donohoe, School of Psychology, NUI Galway.
Mar 08 2018 Posted: 11:46 GMT

A consortium of researchers and health service providers, led by Professor Gary Donohoe from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, has received €1.5 million in funding from the Health Research Board for a new collaborative doctoral program focused on understanding and responding to the mental health needs of young people under the age of 25.

Mental health difficulties (including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia) account for approximately half of all causes of disability in individuals under the age of 25 in Ireland and around the world.

Commenting on the funding award, Professor Gary Donohoe from NUI Galway, said: “Despite the fact that difficulties with mental health usually begin between the ages of 15 and 25, and early treatment reduces later risk, people aged 12-25 years have the poorest access to treatment of all age groups.

“With this funding, the YOULEAD consortium will address some of the main reasons for this, including an insufficient understanding of youth mental health, difficulties with early recognition of symptoms, a lack of strategic organisation and delivery of health services, and high levels of stigma. The YOULEAD programme will address these issues by establishing an interdisciplinary cross-university PhD training program to equip researchers to better understand youth mental health difficulties and barriers to treatment, and to build an evidence base for treatment.”

The consortium will seek to form a new national youth mental health research network, representing key stakeholders in youth mental health, including individuals and families with lived experience of mental health difficulties, national health services, and national/governmental policy makers. This network will provide a much-needed platform for knowledge exchange and dissemination that will help to shape future service delivery, and national youth mental health policy.

The YOULEAD consortium consists of leading youth mental health researchers from NUI Galway (Professor Gary Donohoe, Dr Caroline Heary, Dr Padraig MacNeela), UCD (Professor Barbara Dooley, Professor Eilis Hennessey), and RCSI (Professor Mary Cannon, Professor David Cotter), and Ireland’s two main youth mental health service providers, the HSE, and JIGSAW (Dr Aileen O’Reilly).


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