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Striding forward for youth mental health day

13 September 2021

Researchers from the Wolfson Centre for Young People’s Mental Health took part in the Centre’s inaugural webinar to mark Youth Mental Health Day.

Youth Mental Health Day was founded by adolescent mental health charity stem4 in 2018 and the Centre’s webinar was one of the events taking place in Wales to celebrate the day on the 7 of September 2021. The awareness day’s theme this year was #StrideForward which encouraged young people to reflect on the past year and set a goal to help them move towards more positive mental health in future.

Attendees heard three short talks on a variety of topics from Wolfson Centre researchers Dr Chris Eaton, Dr Vicky Powell and Dr Yulia Shenderovich.

Each talk was followed by a busy question and answer session which lead to useful further discussion from the speakers. The webinar was well attended with audience members from across different fields of education, the third sector, parents, caregivers and experts by lived experience.

A Screenshot from the interactive tool Mentimeter used during the webinar
A screenshot from the interactive tool Mentimeter used during the webinar.

Dr Chris Eaton presented a talk on his role as a Research Associate, working across the Wolfson Centre and Welsh Government to ensure the Centre’s research effectively helps inform and evaluate youth mental health policy here in Wales.

Dr Eaton said: “I was pleased to be part of the Centre’s first webinar, particularly to mark Youth Mental Health Day. We gauged from the audience early on that they were keen to learn more about the Centre in general, as well as our research aims over the coming years.

“I provided an overview of how our research can inform and evaluate Welsh Government policy on youth mental health and highlighted the collaborative nature of the Centre; working in partnership with interdisciplinary experts from across academia, education, the NHS, policymakers, third sector organisations, and, of course, young people themselves.

“This collaborative approach will ensure our research findings can rapidly inform policy and practice and it was exciting to present on this in the webinar.”

Dr Victoria Powell, a post-doctoral researcher at the Wolfson Centre, spoke on the topic of investigating the link between attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression.

Dr Powell added: “It was great to receive so many informative questions from our audience. I completed my PhD at Cardiff University earlier this year which focused mainly on investigating depression risk in children and young people with ADHD and the factors that might explain an increased risk of depression in this group.

“I look forward to continuing to conduct research focusing on risk and protective factors for youth depression in my role at the Wolfson Centre. I’m grateful for the opportunity to present my previous work, particularly given the theme of this year’s Youth Mental Health Day.”

“I very much hope our work at the Wolfson Centre will help young people move towards more positive mental health in future.”

The final talk of the evening was from Dr Yulia Shenderovich, a senior lecturer at the Wolfson Centre. Yulia’s talk examined violence prevention for children and young people and the role of parenting programmes in working to support youth mental health.

Dr Shenderovich said: “Having joined the team a few months ago, I was thrilled to be able to take part in the first of many webinars from the Wolfson Centre.

“My work focuses primarily on services for young people, evaluating how programmes function in practice and on a large scale. Parenting programmes are one of the services that I’m interested in, and I was glad to have such thoughtful questions from the webinar audience on my work.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the Centre’s webinars and other events continue to develop in the coming months, including the Wolfson Centre’s seminar series which will hopefully be launching early next year- watch this space!”

The full webinar recording is available to view online via the Wolfson Centre’s YouTube channel.