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Schools across South West encouraged to take part in national research study looking to reduce anxiety and depression in young people

world mental health day

On World Mental Health Day (October 10) schools across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset are being encouraged to sign up to take part in a national research study looking to reduce depression and anxiety in young people.

The National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula wants schools across the South West to register their interest to take part in the PIPA Trial (An online Parenting Intervention to Prevent affective disorders in high-risk Adolescents) which is is exploring the effectiveness of an online resource for parents and carers.

Approximately 10–25% of all school-age children have a recognisable mental health condition, with 50% of such problems emerging before the age of 14. Untreated these can lead to further problems in young adulthood, exposing young people to a wide range of risk behaviours and outcomes.

Researchers in Australia (University of Monash) have successfully demonstrated that offering online family focused guidance and skills for supporting a child with their mental and emotional wellbeing has long lasting benefits, fostering a positive and nurturing family environment and helping families develop a wide range of skills and knowledge. The website covers topics such as how to create a positive and nurturing family environment and best support their child’s mental wellbeing.

This website has now been adapted for the UK and is being tested as part of the PIPA trial, coordinated by the University of Warwick.

Researchers are looking to collaborate with secondary schools across the South West to promote the trial and engage with families of young people aged 11-15-years-old.  Parents, carers and young people of schools that sign up will be invited to fill in some online questionnaires and work through a series of online modules and factsheets.

Dr Richard Laugharne, Consultant Psychiatrist and Deputy Clinical Director for the CRN SWP, said: “This is a great opportunity for schools to get involved in the drive to improve youth mental health and to support students and families, particularly during these unprecedented times. It is also an opportunity for schools to be an integral part of evidence-based research to improve outcomes for young people.”

The study team hope to collaborate with about 50 schools nationally and recruit 433 families from the UK.

The trial is being co-ordinated by the University of Warwick, and led by Professor Andrew Thompson and Professor Jason Madan. The trial is funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Any schools in the South West that wish to find out more can visit or register their interest in taking part by emailing