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Mental Health and Neurodevelopment

Seamless integration of mental and physical health is critical to ensuring Cambridge Children’s Hospital truly transforms children’s healthcare.

We will provide an integrated mind-body approach to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for neurodevelopmental and mental health conditions, by providing new, integrated healthcare and research facilities working seamlessly between the hospital and the wider community.

Max Rowlandson

Our second flagship research centre, the Mental Health and Neurodevelopment Centre, will integrate clinical and research work.

We will focus on psychiatry, psychology and autism research, on the early detection of poor mental health in those with long-term or chronic conditions and within vulnerable groups, as well as on improving outcomes for long-Covid patients.

Understanding the intrarelationships between conditions of physical and mental ill health will be central to our research vision and approach.

We will develop personalised treatments to improve the outcomes for children and young people and the adults they will become, delivering joined-up healthcare that is as beneficial to the mind as it is to the body.

The integration of clinical care and research within Cambridge Children’s Hospital will will support collaborative working between research groups and with clinical colleagues across highly relevant specialisms for neurodevelopment and mental health, including genomics, rare disease and long-term condition prevention, diagnosis and management.

It will accelerate the safe translation of findings into clinical care and so improve the lives of children, young people and their families regionally, nationally and internationally.

Max R sitting on a bed Max's R baby picture
Max R sitting on a bed Max's R baby picture

For example, Cambridge researchers are beginning to uncover how physical conditions such as epilepsy can impact mental health conditions such as depression and psychosis, and how metabolic changes due to anorexia can affect the response to refeeding.

By breaking down traditional research silos between study of the mind and study of the body, the Centre will be in a position to drive forward much-needed improvements in treatment.

Our team already provide the government statistics for mental health in children and young people, and have previously demonstrated that a brief classroom management course for teachers improved primary school children's mental health.

The novel, integrated model of care proposed for Cambridge Children’s Hospital will provide a unique opportunity to expand knowledge of the interface between physical and mental health.