Mental health and well-being during adolescence is vitally important for young people to flourish and for the health and prosperity of society. Yet evidence suggests that poor mental health is on the rise and that the most vulnerable or disadvantaged in society suffer the most. Highly stretched and constrained mental health systems are typically designed to react to problems once they have already become severe.
This work will take a radically different approach. As a partnership of leading scientists, designers and practitioners working alongside communities, researchers are testing an approach called Kailo - which means connected or whole. Kailo is an evidence-informed framework that will support local partnerships to co-design strategies that address the underlying drivers of mental health in their area. The strategies and activities will be informed by the latest scientific evidence about promoting adolescent mental health and will be flexed and tailored to address local needs and contexts.
The framework will be implemented initially in two very different communities – Newham in East London, and rural North Devon. A bold programme of developmental research will test the feasibility of the approach across these contexts, informing refinements, wider replication and systemic and contributory impact evaluation. Results from these sites will support wider-scale implementation and impact at scale.