Epigenetics: How genes and the environment shape children’s mental health

by Charlotte Cecil

Mental health is one of the leading causes of disability around the world, affecting one in three people every year in Europe alone – at an estimated cost of over €460 billion. It is hugely disruptive to the lives of individuals, their families and to wider communities.

If we are to successfully rise to the challenge of understanding how mental health disorders develop – and therefore how best they may be prevented – we must wind back the clock to children’s early development. More than half of all diagnosable mental health problems start before the age of 14, and often manifest earlier in childhood as emotional and behavioural problems, such as anxiety, depression, aggression or hyperactivity.

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The importance of our social environment in understanding suicidal behaviour

by Duleeka Knipe

Over 800,000 people die by suicide every year – that’s one death every forty seconds. A disproportionate number (76%) of these deaths occur in the world’s poorest countries. Our knowledge of the reasons why people die by suicide in this part of the world is severely limited, but a better understanding is desperately needed given that suicide is a leading cause of death in young people.

A huge barrier to improving our understanding is that we simply did not have good data from low and middle income countries to help us better comprehend this complex behaviour – until now. Continue reading

Using a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to transform youth justice

by Anna-Christina Jones and Hannah Smithson

A ‘new take’ on Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) projects

After securing a pioneering Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project in the youth justice sector, joint funded by the AHRC and the ESRC, we have spent the past two years working collaboratively with young people and practitioners to develop a truly transformative model of working with young people in the justice system across Greater Manchester.

Our new model, called the Participatory Youth Practice Framework (PYP), has been developed by working not consultatively but collaboratively with young people themselves, learning about their identities, cultures and backgrounds and bringing those experiences into the development of this new model of youth justice practice.

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The eye of the storm

by Anand Menon

It’s been quite a period for the UK in a Changing Europe, charged by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) with disseminating the findings of academic research on UK-EU relations to as wide an audience as possible. It’s been exciting, stressful at times, but, most of all immensely satisfying as we have, I think, helped persuade the non-academic world of the importance of social science.

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Celebrating the impact of women in social science

by Fiona Armstrong

International Women’s Day is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. So the perfect moment to reflect on how women in social science have been making our lives better – a topic that one blog post can barely scratch the surface of!

The contribution of women to the social sciences is rich and diverse, although not always well documented. Where to start? With Florence Nightingale? Surely the mother of the modern infographic and a champion of quantitative social science as well as a pioneer in the field of nursing. Where to end? With the winners of the ESRC’s Impact Prize – where women continue to change the world through high quality research?  Continue reading