affected by mental ill health globally
The cost to the UK economy of work absence due to mental ill health
of mental health problems begin in childhood
of NHS mental health funding goes to children and adolescents
In the last 14 years mental ill-health has risen by around 50%. These statistics need to change. Our ambition is to develop more new preventative techniques to reduce the cases of mental ill health and its impact. We approach the challenge from all angles, working with medics and digital technologists, economists and data scientists and in partnership with the NHS and the third sector, to help prevent mental ill health at all stages of life.
"It's really important that we get the best research, so that we can implement the best interventions and create the optimum conditions for people to be able to thrive."
Cliff Riordan, Lecturer, Department of Health Sciences.
We need to understand mental health problems as a society better. Whether we are experts or not we do need to be able to talk to each other about emotions and support each other. We all have a role to play.
Professor Barry Wright
Nowadays well over 50 percent of serious adult mental health problems start in childhood.
Professor Barry Wright is pioneering a new LEGO-based therapy that is specifically designed to make social interactions interesting to a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
His study involves three children with autism coming together and playing Lego in a very co-operative way. One of them will look at the instructions and tell the second one to go and find a particular piece and that second one will find the particular piece and give it to the third one who will build it. This resembles an engineer, a supplier and a builder within the workplace. From this, they learn cooperation, social reciprocity, they learn to play together and learn about support and respect, in a fun, interesting environment.
Barry believes people on the autism spectrum bring something to society that is supportive of evolution and to society.
"If you look at who designs and builds computers and who works in a lot of our law departments, our archaeology departments or mathematics, they have higher rates of people on the autism spectrum. I think we need to look at some identified mental health problems a new way and see some neurodevelopmental differences as part of society.”
It is estimated that approximately 1.6% of people in the UK have ASD which causes difficulties with social interaction, communication and behaviour, often resulting in the child feeling socially isolated and anxious. Barry hopes his research can be a preventative measure for further illness (such as anxiety) as an adult and that children will not only learn the necessary skills but also be able adopt them in their daily lives.
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