The Nurture Network: Promoting Young People's Mental Health in a Digital World

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sussex
Department Name: Sch of Psychology

Abstract

Promoting improved understanding of how children's daily lives are influenced by the digital world that now surrounds them and how they experience family, peer and school life as a result represents a substantial challenge and opportunity relative to facilitating positive mental health and development for children and young people. Historically, researchers have emphasised the role of supportive parenting and positive school experiences (including peer relationships) as primary social environmental influences on children's mental health, with most interventions targeting family and school-based influences aimed at remediating poor mental health outcomes for children and young people. It is increasingly recognised that the digital environment constitutes a new dimension or common denominator to these traditional agencies of socialisation influence on children's mental health. Yet, little progress has been made in equipping parents, teachers and the professional agencies that work with families and schools with new knowledge that harnesses potential strengths while offering protection from substantial risks posed to children by the digital world. How do we equip parents, teachers, practitioners, policy makers and youth themselves with information, support and resources that promotes positive mental health in a contemporary (and future) digital age? Addressing this core challenge represents the primary objective of our multi-disciplinary e-Nurture network. While significant advances have been made in relation to highlighting and understanding the genetic and biological underpinnings of poor mental health and mental health disorders in recent years, it is recognised that the social environments children experience and interact with remain a substantial influence on their positive and negative mental health trajectories (even when genetic factors are considered). Three primary areas of social environmental influence on children's mental health have dominated past research and practice in this area. First, family socialisation processes, specifically parenting practices are recognised as a substantive influence on children's mental health. Second, peer influences are noted as an important influence on children's mental health. Third, school-based factors are recognised as a further influence on children's mental health and development. Increasingly, the digital environment is recognised as a factor that both infuses traditional agencies of socialisation for children and that can influence children directly. Policy makers have recently directed significant attention to the prevalence rates and support needs among children and young people who experience mental health problems. The digital environment and its potential for positive and negative influences on children's well-being, mental health and development has also received substantial research, policy and media attention. Building on this policy platform, the primary objectives of our network are to (1) explore how the digital environment has changed the ways in which children experience and interact with family, school and peer-based influences and what these changes mean for children's mental health, (2) identify how we can recognise and disentangle digital risks from opportunities when working with families, schools and professional agencies in developing intervention programmes to improve mental health outcomes for children and young people, and (3) identify how we effectively incorporate and disseminate this new knowledge to engage present and future practice models and the design and development of digital platforms and interventions aimed at promoting mental health and reducing negative mental health trajectories for young people. The network will engage a collaborative, cross sectoral approach to facilitating impacts by directly engaging academic, charity, industry, policy and front-line beneficiaries (e.g. families, parents, schools, teachers, children and young people).

Planned Impact

The core objective of the e-Nurture network is to engage a broad array of academic, practice, policy and other relevant stakeholders to promote greater direct and knowledge-led engagement with families, schools and peer-group engaged agencies to facilitate improved mental health outcomes for children and young people. While many research projects purport impacts, partnership and engagement in delivering the lessons of research to practice and policy contexts, few groupings actually set out to broker this partnership from the outset. Our network is broad in partnership scope and intentionally inclusive of contributors that span multiple disciplinary and practice domains. While all contributors have an interest in youth and mental health, specific areas of expertise offer a complement that joins professional boundaries in a way that a standard research project could not facilitate. Through structured collaboration across academic, practice, policy, youth-led community groups, PPI members, industry and charitable organisational domains, we will operate across disciplinary boundaries to advance a knowledge-led model that generates new impacts and that stimulates future research and further impact opportunities. We aim to put in place a strategy to ensure that partners and those working at the front line of practice and policy relating to family, school and peer influences on children are in a position to use new knowledge generated by our core and network plus activities. We will utilize the complementary skills and extensive track records of the network Leadership Team, Advisory Board and extensive Partner Network profile spanning academic, practice, policy, industry, charity, education, family and child/young person domains. This will allow us to develop a greater understanding of the positive and negative influences of the digital environment for children through their experiences of family, school, peer and wider social influences on their well-being and mental health. It will also help shape thinking about how best to harness the digital environment to facilitate effective interventions to prevent and treat mental disorders, working together with family, school and peer front-line practitioners, charities and agencies. The network will stimulate significant outreach and dissemination through its Leadership Team, Advisory Board and Partners. We bridge academic (world-leading researchers and practitioners), practice (e.g. ACAMH), charity (e.g. NSPCC, Barnardos), policy (e.g. Office of the Children's Commissioner; UK Government departments) and education sectors (e.g. Place2Be), engaging with major industry partners (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Disney, BBC and others). This will allow us to promote previously under-explored knowledge-based implementation and impact synergies. Fundamentally, this will lead to greater knowledge and access to information, resources and supports that promote the role of families, schools and other agencies (e.g. peer-based advocacy groups) in helping to stimulate positive mental health outcomes and trajectories for children and young people. Several core groupings spanning academic, practice/policy domains, families/schools/charities, as well as future generations of researchers, practitioners and policy advocates will benefit from the products of this network, its partnerships and planned activities. This will be facilitated through targeted and integrated activities that will cut-across all areas of impact relevance and will be embedded in activities from the outset of the network. Academic knowledge exchange and impacts will be facilitated through regular meetings, webinars and network linked workshops, seminar and conference events, as well as submission of academic manuscripts, blogs and media engagement.

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Creswick H (2019) " They don't really listen to people" Young people's concerns and recommendations for improving online experiences in Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

publication icon
Harold GT (2018) Annual Research Review: Interparental conflict and youth psychopathology: an evidence review and practice focused update. in Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines

 
Description Substantial progress has been made in stimulating engagement from charities, 3rd sector and voluntary organisations in promoting primary objectives linked to the Nurture Network. In addition multiple family, school, peer based advocacy agencies, UK and devolved nation Government departments have engaged with and participated in multiple eNurture events and engagement activities. We have also established an active youth panel, contributing to all phases of eNurture research and impact activities.
Exploitation Route This is an ongoing and a particularly vibrant area of eNurture activity and future opportunity.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

 
Description This project initiated in September 2018. The formal launch event took place in November 2018. Findings and engagement activities linked to the first phase of eNurture activities have featured in several high level UK government and international policy related reports.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description 1st International Confernece on Mental Health and Wellbeing of Postgraduate Researchers. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Keynote speaker to postgraduate students and practitioners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 5Rights Event, House of Lords, Westminster, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Consultation on Internet Safety for Young People in the House of Lords, Westminster, London
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description ACAMH National Conference. Attachment & Early Intervention: Improving emotional wellbeing and relationships in the family, and at school. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on Revisiting the Nature of Nurture: Promoting Children's Positive Mental Health in a Digital World
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Andrew and Virgina Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on Supporting Parents, Families and Children: An Intergenerational Perspective
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Article for The Conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Impact of child mental health problems is worse than 40 years ago - our new study suggests
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Association of Educational Psychologists. AEP Annual Conference "Developing Resilience & Advocacy" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on strategies for ameliorating the effect of adverse childhood experiences (ACES)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Barnardo's Cymru Family Support conference Supporting Families' Futures: Partnership working for positive outcomes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Keynote speaker to a wide ranging audience. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Young People's Mental Health: More of the Same or Opportunity for Real Change?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Better Brighton Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote Speaker. Revisiting the Nature of Nurture: Promoting Children's Positive Mental Health in a Digital World.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Brighton and Hove NHS Healthy Child Programme Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on Inter Parental Conflict: Children's Mental Health. Mainly attended by Health Visitors and School Nurses.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description CAWAC Training Session 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact CAWAC Training Session for CAFCASS Wales
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Catalyst Psychology Inclusion Matters 2019: Children in a Digital Age. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote Speaker. Revisiting the Nature of Nurture: Promoting Children's Positive Mental Health in a Digital World.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Conference 'Digital Future of Mental Health' on World Mental Health Day, Nottingham 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact eNurture collaborated with the EPSRC-funded Human Data Interaction Network on this joint conference at the Institute of Mental Health in Nottingham. It brought together almost 80 participants including academic researchers, policy makers, representative groups (people with lived experiences, parents, teachers, and young people), professional advisory and partners from public, private and third sector organisations to develop ideas and proposals relevant for the intersection between human data interaction and digital world influences on mental health. During the workshop participants had the opportunity to network with each other to develop multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral research, and practice and policy orientated teams for research proposals and funding bids. eNurture 'Plus' fund grantholders also presented posters of their projects at the conference and were available to provide advice on how they put together their successful proposals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Cross-disciplinary Mental Health Network Launch. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Nurture Network (eNurture). Promoting Mental Health for Young People in a Digital World. Cross-disciplinary Mental Health Network Launch.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) International Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Panel member for the Doha International Family Institute Conference. Questions and answers sessions from the audience. The conference provided a platform for policy makers, practitioners, researchers and representatives of civil society organisations from around the world to discuss and debate parenting issues and propose interventions to support parenting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Dublin Marathon 40th anniversary 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact G. Harold ran the Dublin Marathon on 27 October - the event kick-started a year of mental health awareness raising in Ireland and the UK, including the Brighton Marathon in April 2020, where eNurture will highlight young people's mental health in a digital world, and the benefits of exercise for mental health and wellbeing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.sussex.ac.uk/broadcast/read/49905
 
Description ESRC Festival of Social Science seminar - Commonweal School, Swindon 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The Enurture team was invited by Commonweal School to run a workshop as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science to ascertain young people's views on research priorities relative to eNurture objectives. Over 30 adolescents (age 16-17 years) from three sixth-form colleges took part in a discussion. These young people focussed their discussion on social media, their most used digital platform. As well as discussing positive and negative aspects of a digital environment, they outlined their ideas of what they felt were the next 'big questions' that would allow a better understanding of the impacts of the digital world on youth mental health.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Economic and Social Research Council Festival of Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Presentation on How Research Informs our Understanding of Young People's Mental Health
Converting Evidence into New Knowledge and Practice
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Editorial for Public Sector Focus 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Article published online
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://flickread.com/edition/html/index.php?pdf=5d67acffb3d60#70
 
Description Harmful Conflict Conference Workshop CAFCASS Wales 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote Speaker. Overview of current research in relation to Harmful Conflict and Psychological Impact on Children. Current interventions aimed at helping.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description How Family Factors Affect Long-Term Mental Health Outocmes: An Update on the Evidence. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote Speaker. How Family Factors Affect Long-Term Mental Health Outocmes: An Update on the Evidence.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description MRC-UKRI Adolescent mental health and the developing mind meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Panel: digital environment and social media. Gordon spoke about his research and the UKRI Nurture Network
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description NIHR MindTech MIC National Symposium 2018 Improving Lives with Digital Mental Healthcare 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on MindTech Debate - Growing up in a digital world: do the benefits to mental health outweigh the risks?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description NatCen - Shaping Futures: Mental Health and Educational Attainment in Adolescents. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Keynote speaker. Mental Health, Educational Attainment and Life Chances
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Nurture Network Launch. The Nurture Network (eNurture) Promoting Mental Health for Young People in a Digital World 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on promoting mental health for young people in a digital world
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.enurture.org.uk/
 
Description Police and Partners ACEs Programme Early Action Together Event - taking a public health approach to Policing and Criminal Justice 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on performance in school.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Relationship Foundation Conference Cambridge 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Family Relationship Influences on Children's Mental Health: Unpacking Nature from Nurture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description School Council Seminar: The Digital World and how it impacts on children and young people 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Twenty-five pupils (age 8-10 years) from Ysgol Gynradd Rhiwbeina, Cardiff, took part in the seminar during which they were asked to consider the risks and opportunities connected to the digital world, and advice for adults concerning the digital world. As a result of the lively seminar the school is going to co-produce with eNurture a leaflet for parents, teachers and pupils outlining the key points and recommendations from their perspective.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description School/Youth Engagement Event. Cardiff - Children and adolescents' views of mental health research in a digital world 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This interactive event was targeted at pupils aged 8-18 currently in primary and secondary education with the aim of engaging them in identifying research priorities for eNurture's second funding round. Fifteen pupils from Rhiwbeina Primary School, 11 students from Commonweal School, and 5 members of the eNurture youth Panel participated in the event. Sessions included a presentation by Dr Elvira Perez-Vallejos of the 5 projects eNurture awarded in our first funding call and a discussion of the lessons learned and research gaps. Three age-focussed discussion groups (Primary, Secondary and Young Adults), each facilitated by 2 members of the eNurture team, focussed on identify the risks and opportunities of the digital world, and research ideas. The children and young people presented a summary of the highlights from their discussion groups during the plenary session. The confidence and enthusiasm of the children and young people was truly inspiring. A key outcome of the event is a survey of the whole school (750 people!) to be conducted by the children from Rhiwbeina primary school to ascertain their peers' and teachers' views of the digital world and its impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description The Next Steps for the troubled Families Programme: Implementing An Integrated Approach to Supporting Disadvantaged Families. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Keynote Speaker. The Next Steps for the troubled Families Programme: Implementing An Integrated Approach to Supporting Disadvantaged Families.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description The Role of the Inter-Parental Relationship for Child Mental Health and Development: Recent Research, Practice and Policy Developments. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Keynote Speaker. The Role of the Inter-Parental Relationship for Child Mental Health and Development: Recent Research, Practice and Policy Developments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description The Royal Foundation Mental Health in Education 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Attended the event as part of the Nurture Network: Promoting Children's Positive Mental Health in a Digital World
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description The Sussex Family Justice Board Conference. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Keynote Speaker. Parental conflict and the impact on children's mental health. Event was attended by members of the judiciary.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description UKIMS - United Kingdom and Ireland MarcĂ© Society. Vivette Glover Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote speaker at the Vivette Glover Conference
The principal aim of the Society is to promote, facilitate and communicate about research into all aspects of the mental health of women, their infants and partners around the time of childbirth. This involves a broad range of research activities ranging from basic science through to health services research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UNICEF Leading Minds Conference 2019. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Keynote Speaker. Evidence Gaps in Child Mental Health. International conference about children and mental health.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Youth Engagement Workshop, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This Youth Engagement workshop was attended by a number of Youth Panel representatives. The aim of the day was to generate ideas that would then be converted into a guidance document detailing how to engage with young people to meet eNurture objectives. The young people involved on the day were full of great ideas and as a result we have a great document to reference going forward. The Youth Engagement guide is published on the eNurture website and will be presented at future eNurture events. It is a 'living document' informed by the voices of young people and will continue to evolve as the Network grows and develops.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.enurture.org.uk/
 
Description eNurture Funding Webinar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Nurture Network. Hosted an eNurture funding webinar for prospective applicants to understand the process of the funding call.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description eNurture Research Workshop, University of Sussex 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The aim of the research workshop was to showcase the 5 projects we selected for funding during our first 'Plus' fund call. Four of the lead applicants presented their exciting projects to more than 40 eNurture members. Most of the attendees at this event had submitted applications to our first round, and were there to receive feedback and advice on how their applications may be revised or reconfigured (e.g. engaging other partners, youth panel engagement, etc). A group of young people from Commonweal Secondary School in Swindon were actively involved in the review of the applications and provided a presentation to participants on the strengths and possible areas for improvement which they themselves had identified from the applications they reviewed. The contributions of this group has been exceptional and their impressive contribution was a particular highlight of the workshop. Feedback on the content and objectives of the day was extremely positive. Members welcomed the networking opportunity and would like events specifically targeted at Early Career Researchers, and non-academic stakeholders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019