Youth mental health program led by Galway Professor receives €1.5m

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A team of researchers led by Galway-based Professor Gary Donohoe has received €1.5 million in funding from the Health Research Board for a 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 of 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.