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Professor of Adolescent Psychiatry
I am interested in how to improve access to mental health interventions for children and adolescents. School-based mental health interventions are particularly important to study and since 2019 my team has been running the OxWell Student Survey in order to better understand what students need and which support they find most helpful. The OxWell 2023 survey launched in February 2023 (do watch our new video) and over 200 schools in six areas are participating. In 2021, over 30,000 young people from 180 schools took part. We work closely with young advisors to ensure that our findings are shared with pupils. We have recently started working on the new Brainwaves project- an ambitious plan to work closely together with schools to identify mental health interventions most suited to their environment and need as well as building a programme of study to better understand adolescent mental health trajectories and experiences at school.
I work with an incredible group of researchers on some other projects, all of which involve interventions and implementation with young people - hence we call ourselves 'Team Intervene' and we welcome you to join us if you have interests in this area. The ATTUNE project is exploring the impact of multiple adversities and working with partners in the visual and performing arts as well as with neurodivergent communities. We have recently completed two interesting projects- the MindKind Study, funded by the Wellcome Trust examining which data governance models are most acceptable to adolescents for the collection and curation of data. We work on the implementation of digital interventions and the EcoWeb trial also concluded in 2022. I am part of the Excluded Lives research team, which explores the causes and consequences of school exclusion, fully informed by the experiences of young people.
The Oxford and Thames Valley ARC has supported the majority of my recent work. I am particularly interested in barriers young people face in accessing mental health services and have previously spent some time at the Ethox Centre to explore some of the ethical challenges of mental health provision in schools. The findings of this work are very interesting and currently being written up for publication.
Our Lancet Psychiatry series on school mental health interventions is freely available online. Our poster for schools on 'COPING WITH YOUR LOW MOOD' is free to download and share.
Refugee mental health needs have been a longstanding interest and I have previously examined the epidemiology of (and the risk and protective factors for) mental health difficulties in refugee children, I am concerned about the psychological impacts of immigration detention and have an active interest in Narrative Exposure Therapy for PTSD. For Children's Mental Health Week 2019 we made a 6-part Podcast Series on Mental Health Interventions for Refugee Children aimed at anyone wanting to learn more about the needs of these children. Do listen! I support the amazing Oxford Clinical Medical Students in their work with the Oxford Refugee Health Initiative.
I previously completed an NIHR post-doctoral fellowship, during which I developed a mental health toolbox for schools that can be used by any front-line worker in the school setting (online).
I work clinically as a Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Children's Psychological Medicine- an outstanding team that works in the Oxford Children's Hospital (Oxford University Hospitals NHSFT).
Links to my publications can be found here or via ResearchGate.
Astle DE. et al, (2023), Lancet Psychiatry, 10, 242 - 244
Tensions in cultural identity and sense of belonging for internally displaced adolescents in Ukraine
THOMPSON I. et al, (2023), Child Care in Practice
Fazel M. et al, (2023), Int J Environ Res Public Health, 20