A preview of the new Pears Maudsley Centre

A preview of the new Pears Maudsley Centre

A preview of the new Pears Maudsley Centre

The new Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People opened its doors to a very special audience of supporters, young people, families, donors, academics and clinicians.

Last week, the new Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People opened its doors to a very special audience of supporters, young people, families, donors, academics and clinicians.

Based at the heart of the world leading Maudsley Hospital site in south London, this pioneering new Centre will open fully in 2025, bringing together clinical and scientific expertise to transform the mental health of children and young people for generations to come.

Guests were treated to an exclusive preview of the almost-completed Centre, which was made possible thanks to the generosity of more than 60 donors and supporters raising almost £30m, in addition to £11m from Research England.

The Centre is a unique partnership between the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and Maudsley Charity: collectively known as the King’s Maudsley Partnership. Together, these organisations host the largest group of mental health scientists and clinical academics in Europe.

More than a building

The new Pears Maudsley Centre will care for some of the UK’s most vulnerable young people experiencing conditions like anxiety, depression, OCD, self-harm, eating disorders, trauma and autism.

The Centre was co-designed with children, young people and families, ensuring it provides a beautiful and welcoming space tailored to diverse needs.

As well as providing world class inpatient and outpatient facilities, the Centre will allow researchers and clinicians to work side by side to find new ways to predict, prevent and treat mental health disorders in children and young people.

Watch this video to learn more about the Centre.

Tours of terraces, tech and teaching spaces

The exclusive preview of the Centre included a chance to see the new dedicated learning spaces of the Maudsley and Bethlem Hospital School, where young people can continue their education alongside their treatment. Guests were also introduced to a world-leading new Clinical Research Facility that will house state-of-the-art neuro-imaging equipment designed especially for children.

Guests heard from clinicians and scientists who will soon move into the new Centre, as well as from David Bradley, CEO of SLAM; Professor Shitij Kapur; and Rebecca Gray, CEO of Maudsley Charity.

“To me this is the culmination of a dream. It is a testament to ambition and persistence. It’s a celebration of generosity. It’s a marker of success. And it’s the blossoming of a promise. I want to leave you all today with a promise: We, who are the lucky recipients of your support, owe to you, and to our community: To use the opportunities of the research and collaboration here to move the frontiers of care. And to share this knowledge with the world beyond us.”
Professor Shitij Kapur

Vice Chancellor, King’s IoPPN

Some of our special guests shared their experiences on social media:

Sean Fletcher, Journalist and TV Presenter:

“The mental health services for young people at the Maudsley Hospital in South London saved my family when they treated our son who has OCD. It was one of the few lights at a very dark time for us.

And now the hospital, alongside King’s College London @KingsIoPPN @kingsmaudsley @nhs_maudsley @maudsleycharity, is shining that light much brighter. Last night I was at the preview of the new Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People.

Apart from having amazing views over London, the Centre will redefine how we understand, prevent and treat mental ill health for the next generation.

The other big thing the new centre will do is train many more clinicians who can offer what the Maudsley offered my family, around the UK, and the world. Sounds a bit corny, but it’s true, and it’s crucial, because if I had a pound for every parent who contacted me saying they can’t get access to good treatment in their area, I’d be a rich man by now.” Full post here.

Crispin Truman, Director of the Rayne Foundation, who funded the Centre’s welcome space:

“So lovely to see the new children & young people’s mental health centre, its world-leading design and facilities and to hear about the amazing collaboration between clinicians and researchers it will host.”

Changing the story on children’s mental health: What’s next?

The Pears Maudsley Centre will officially open in 2025. To celebrate, we’ll bring together those who made it happen and raise a toast to the difference it will make for generations to come. In the meantime, the Centre’s virtual doors are open; our clinicians and researchers welcome interest from potential collaborators across mental health research, engagement and more.

The people who made it possible

More than 60 generous donors contributed to make the Pears Maudsley Centre a reality. Recognising this huge impact, everyone who gave more than £250 towards the Centre’s build will be recognised on a stunning donor wall in its main entrance. We extend a huge thanks to all who supported this project, including:

  • Maudsley Charity
  • Pears Foundation
  • The Rayne Foundation (Welcome Space)
  • Julia & Hans Rausing Trust (Outpatients Unit)
  • Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust (Learning Zone in The Maudsley & Bethlem School)
  • Bernard Lewis Family Charitable Trust (Lorna Lewis Outdoor Learning Zone)
  • The Wolfson Foundation (Neuroimaging Suite)
  • Garfield Weston (Intensive Treatment Programme Suite – eating disorders)
  • Kuok Group (Staff Wellbeing Terrace)
  • Dorset Foundation in memory of Harry M Weinrebe (Observation Suites)
  • Elizabeth and Daniel Peltz OBE (Peltz Community Hall)
  • Dove Self Esteem Project (Group Therapy Room in Maudsley Adolescent Unit/Inpatients)
  • Prudence Trust (Eye Tracking Suite)
  • Stephen Riady Foundation (Riady Sensory Room)
  • UKRI Research England (neuroimaging equipment and Collaboration Zone fit out) – this support was made possible thanks to philanthropic contributions doubling the amount contributed by UKRI.

Follow Us

For the latest updates and news, follow us on our social channels.

Self-harm and digital technology overuse in young people with lived mental health experience

Self-harm and digital technology overuse in young people with lived mental health experience

Self-harm and digital technology overuse in young people with lived mental health experience

New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, in partnership with YoungMinds – the UK’s leading children’s mental health charity – has found high levels of problematic mobile phone use, disturbed sleep, and self-harm among young people with mental health conditions.

The research, published in PLOS ONE, is the first prospective study of its kind, and provides the basis for a comprehensive resource that will allow researchers to investigate the mental health impact of digital technology use in young people.

365 young people aged between 13 and 25 years old who are currently or have recently accessed secondary mental health services were recruited from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Using innovative study design, co-produced with young people with lived experience, and sourcing data from participants’ electronic health records, smartphones and social media accounts, researchers were able to build an accurate picture of each participant’s behaviour. Participants provided data over the course of 6 months to establish how patterns of social media and smartphone use can be associated with self-harm and mental health.

More than 80% of the participants had self-harmed at least once, and high levels of depression, anxiety, and disturbed sleep were all prevalent. 54% reported using social media after midnight on a weekday, and 59% reported using their smartphones after midnight on a weekday.

“While there has been extensive debate about the relationship between social media and smartphone use and rates of self-harm, studies up to this point have largely been limited by their design, and have only been able to demonstrate associations rather than providing any insight into the relative timings of different behaviours or underlying mechanisms. Our comprehensive approach will allow us to properly investigate the impact of digital technology on youth mental health.”
Dr Rina Dutta

Reader in Suicidology and Psychiatry and the study’s senior author, King’s IoPPN

Among those studied, nearly a quarter reported using social media for more than 5 hours a day on weekdays and more than 40% used their smartphone above this threshold.

Despite spending excessive amounts of time online and about a third of participants reporting they had recently been the victim of bullying, researchers found that traditional methods of bullying, such as social exclusion, were more common than cyberbullying.

“The high prevalence of self-harm in our sample of young people with prior interactions with mental health services serve as a reminder that there needs to be increased investment in prevention and early intervention services for those at risk.”
Dr Amanda Bye

King’s Maudsley Partnership for Children and Young People Translational Research Fellow and the study’s first author, Kings Maudsley Partnership

Hannah Kinsey, Head of Training and Service Design at YoungMinds said, “We are hugely proud to be part of this research and the work that has gone into ensuring that young people’s voices are central at every stage of the study. The findings reveal that more needs to be done to stop the harmful impacts of social media on young people, especially those who have already struggled with their mental health.”

Dr Angela Hind, Chief Executive at the Medical Research Foundation, said, “Smartphones and social media are ubiquitous among young people, yet we know little about the impact on their mental health. This research reveals some important insights into how digital technology is being used by young people with lived experience of mental health conditions, and lays the foundation for future studies in this area – which are much-needed. Ultimately, we hope these findings will lead to better support for young people who are struggling with their mental health.

This study was possible thanks to funding from the Medical Research Foundation and the Medical Research Council. This work was also part supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and King’s College London, and the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) South London.

Cohort profile: The Social media, Smartphone use and Self-harm in Young People (3S-YP) study – a prospective, observational cohort study of young people in contact with mental health services (DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0299059) (Amanda Bye, Ben Carter, Daniel Leightley, Kylee Trevillion, Maria Liakata, Stella Branthonne-Foster, Samantha Cross, Zohra Zenasni, Ewan Carr, Grace Williamson, Alba Vega Viyuela, Rina Dutta) was published in PLOS ONE.

For more information, please contact Patrick O’Brien (IoPPN Media Manager)

Follow Us

For the latest updates and news, follow us on our social channels.

Day workshop in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy effectively reduces depression in 16-18 year olds

Day workshop in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy effectively reduces depression in 16-18 year olds

Day workshop in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy effectively reduces depression in 16-18 year olds

The Brief Educational workshops in Secondary Schools Trial found a day-long CBT course is an effective means of improving young people’s mental health.

New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London has found that providing 16-18 year olds with a day-long course in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was both a clinically and cost-effective means of improving their mental health.

The trial, known as Brief Educational workshops in Secondary Schools Trial (BESST) and published in The Lancet Psychiatry, was successfully adapted from the DISCOVER program, which was designed to help adults manage their feelings of stress. The study has been funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

Around one in 12 young people in England currently experience anxiety or depression. Despite this, the large majority remain untreated, and almost a quarter (24%) have no contact with specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

This study recruited 900 students from 57 schools in England. Half were provided with signposting to mental health services and the standard care their school would usually provide. The other half were invited to a day-long workshop on CBT coping techniques for managing mood, anxiety, and stress, and provided with follow up phone calls to help incorporate those skills into real-life situations.

Researchers found that participants who attended the workshop showed significant improvements in their depression, anxiety, wellbeing and resilience after a six-month follow up.

“More than half of adult mental disorders start before the age of 15, and when we approached schools, we found that there was overwhelming number of young people actively seeking support. There is clearly an urgent need for early intervention to ensure that symptoms of poor mental health don’t persist and worsen. Our study set out to establish if there was a clinically and cost-effective way to do that at scale.

Dr June Brown

Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology and the study's lead author, King’s IoPPN

Dr June Brown said, “One of our main challenges was to adapt an adult therapeutic intervention which would be attractive and engaging for teenagers. In addition, previous studies have either been aimed at all students, some of whom aren’t necessarily in need of assistance, while others have taken a more targeted approach that potentially stigmatises those who might need support. Giving students the opportunity to self-refer means that we work with students who recognise that they’d like help.

“Our study shows that this intervention can be delivered at low cost by mental health professionals who can bridge the gap between schools and CAMHS.”

“Since the pandemic there is an increased need to support schools and adolescents with their mental health. While we found improvements in depression; anxiety; wellbeing; and resilience, the largest effect was seen in those students that had higher symptoms of depression at the start of the study, meaning that we reached and improved those students most vulnerable to depression.

Professor Ben Carter

Professor of Medical Statistics and the study's senior author, King's IoPPN

Professor Ben Carter, “The ultimate success of this has laid the groundwork for these workshops to be rolled out nationwide to provide an early intervention against depression and anxiety.” 

Karen Crowe, Senior Tutor for the Sixth Form & Curriculum Leader for Psychology at St Nicholas Catholic High School in Cheshire said, “Our school seeks to prioritise mental wellbeing and promote strategies that improve students’ mental health. We believe it is important to teach students how to become self-regulating individuals who can manage their own stress, which is why the school fully supported the BESST trial. We value techniques that provide students with skills to resolve problems, cope better with expectations, and build confidence, so the trial’s aims perfectly complement our school’s mission and ethos.”

Olivia Black, a student at St Nicholas Catholic High School who took part in the BESST trial said, “The study gave me new ways to manage my stress and remain productive during my studies. It was such a helpful process that allowed me to develop my personal strategies for maintaining good mental health. The skills and confidence gained from this trial motivated me to help start up our ‘breathing space’ initiative where sixth formers support younger students with their mental health.”

Can a brief accessible CBT programme in schools improve the mental health of 16–18-year-olds? Clinical and cost-effectiveness of a cluster randomised controlled trial in Brief Educational Workshops in Secondary Schools Trial (BESST) (DOI 10.1016/S2215-0366(24)00101-9) (June Brown, Kirsty James, Stephen Lisk, James Shearer, Sarah Byford, Paul Stallard, Jessica Deighton, David Saunders, Jynna Yarrum, Peter Fonagy, Timothy Weaver, Irene Sclare, Crispin Day, Claire Evans, Ben Carter) was published in Lancet Psychiatry. 

For more information, please contact Patrick O’Brien (Media Manager)

Follow Us

For the latest updates and news, follow us on our social channels.

Conscious memories of childhood maltreatment contribute to psychopathology

Conscious memories of childhood maltreatment contribute to psychopathology

Conscious memories of childhood maltreatment contribute to psychopathology

New analysis from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London has found that an individual’s conscious recollection of child maltreatment is strongly associated with psychopathology.

The research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, analysed studies of both ‘retrospective’ and ‘prospective’ measures of childhood maltreatment, and their association with psychopathology – a collection of symptoms ranging from internalising problems like depression and anxiety to externalising problems such as antisocial behaviour and substance abuse.

Retrospective measures refer to first-person, subjective recollections of childhood events, while prospective measures typically refer to third-person accounts of childhood events, such as from parental testimony or official records.

In a meta-analytic review of 24 studies covering 15,485 individuals, psychopathology was more strongly associated with retrospective measures of childhood maltreatment than prospective measures, suggesting that it is the personal memories of abuse or neglect at a young age and the meanings we attached to them that may contribute to psychopathology later in life.

Child maltreatment encompassed a range of traumatic experiences between birth and the age of 18, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse; or physical or emotional neglect.

Researchers found that the associations between retrospective measures of child maltreatment and psychopathology were particularly strong when the assessment of psychopathology was based on self-reports and focused on emotional disorders such as depression or anxiety.

Furthermore, retrospective reports of emotional abuse showed stronger associations with psychopathology compared to retrospective reports of other types of maltreatment.

Researchers suggest that the findings could have important implications for the treatment of mental health issues that stem from childhood maltreatment. In particular, it highlights the potential role of autobiographical memories of childhood maltreatment, which has not been explored in dominant theories on the outcomes of maltreatment.

Psychoanalytic and physical theories of mental ill-health generally focus on unconscious memories that cannot be accessed by a person’s voluntary recollection. In contrast, our findings support theories that one’s individual interpretation of events, conscious remembering, and the associated thought patterns are more strongly linked with psychopathology than the mere events themselves.”
Dr Jessie Baldwin PhD

Visiting Researcher, IoPPN and Senior Research Fellow, UCL

Our results indicate that evidence-based treatment for trauma-related psychopathology, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy, and novel memory therapeutics may hold the key to softening the impact of childhood maltreatment on mental health.”
Miss Oonagh Coleman

PhD Student, King's IoPPN

The role of autobiographical memory in psychopathology has been largely underappreciated outside the work on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Advancements in this area can provide novel insights into prevention and treatment for the broad range of psychological disorders emerging after traumatic experiences in childhood.”
Professor Andrea Danese MD

Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry , King's IoPPN

The study’s authors note that the associations between retrospective measures of child maltreatment and psychopathology might be inflated, particularly for emotional disorders, due to recall bias. For example, evidence suggests that increases in depressive symptoms over time may lead to small increases in retrospective reports of maltreatment. However, other recent research from the team suggests that recall bias is unlikely to explain the findings, suggesting that individuals’ memories of maltreatment may contribute to the development of psychopathology.

This research was possible thanks to funding from the Wellcome Trust, Mental Health Research UK, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at South London, Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and the Medical Research Council.

Prospective and Retrospective Measures of Child Maltreatment and their Association With Psychopathology (Jessie R. Baldwin, PhD; Oonagh Coleman, MSc; Emma R. Francis, PhD; Andrea Danese, MD, PhD) (DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2024.0818) was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

For more information, please contact George Fenwick (Senior Communications and Engagement Officer)

Follow Us

For the latest updates and news, follow us on our social channels.

IoPPN researchers find lonely secondary school students less likely to gain employment in adulthood

IoPPN researchers find lonely secondary school students less likely to gain employment in adulthood

IoPPN researchers find lonely secondary school students less likely to gain employment in adulthood

New research has found that there is a direct socioeconomic impact of loneliness in early adolescence.

a young girl holding a leaf

New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, in partnership with the University of Greenwich, has found that there is a direct socioeconomic impact of loneliness in early adolescence.

The research, published in Social Science and Medicine, found that lonely young adults are more likely to be out of education, employment, or training (NEET) and consider themselves less employable and lower on the economic ladder than their less lonely peers.

Sourcing data from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, researchers followed the progress of 2,232 individuals born in England and Wales during 1994-1995. Participants were assessed at ages 12, 18 and 26 for levels of loneliness, as well as being asked to rate their social status. Participants’ employment status and employability were assessed at age 18.

Researchers found that young adults who had experienced loneliness earlier on in life experienced difficulties in young adulthood, even if they were no longer lonely. Researchers suggest that this demonstrates that loneliness impacts a person’s long term economic prospects and suggests that addressing loneliness in early adolescence could yield economic benefits through increased productivity.

“While there are clear impacts of loneliness on mental health from an early age, our study demonstrates that loneliness also negatively impacts a person’s employment prospects. We’ve shown that, from an early age, loneliness can have knock on effects on a person’s ability to compete in the job market. This not only harms a person’s chances in life, but also has direct costs to the economy.”

Bridget Bryan

PhD student at King’s IoPPN and the study’s lead author

Previous research in this field has suggested a two-way relationship between loneliness and social standing. By using data collected over time, this research showed that feeling lonely negatively influenced a person’s social standing down the line, but social standing did not affect their future loneliness.

“Our research is one of very few studies reporting on the impact of loneliness years later. If we are to create effective prevention strategies, we need to continue collecting data in order to unravel the long-term outcomes of loneliness at various stages of life.

“We need more longitudinal data to unravel the long-term outcomes of loneliness at various stages of life. This can offer insight for developing prevention strategies.”

Professor Louise Arseneault

Professor of Developmental Psychology at King’s IoPPN

The study’s researchers argue that their findings highlight the importance of effectively tackling loneliness in order to help both the individual and society.

“While we should never forget that loneliness impacts people of all ages, our research suggests that reducing loneliness in children and young people could yield benefits both for their own employment prospects and for the economy more widely.”

Dr Timothy Matthews

Lecturer in Psychology at University of Greenwich

This study was possible thanks to funding from the Colt Foundation and the Medical Research Council, with additional support from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and by the Jacobs Foundation.

The socioeconomic consequences of loneliness: evidence from a nationally representative longitudinal study of young adults (DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2024.116697) (Bridget T. Bryan, Katherine N. Thompson, Sidra Goldman-Mellor, Terrie E. Moffitt, Candice Odgers, Sincere Long Shin Soa, Momtahena Uddin Rahman, Jasmin Wertz, Timothy Matthews, Louise Arseneault) was published in Social Science and Medicine.

For more information, please contact Patrick O’Brien (Media Manager, King’s IoPPN

Follow Us

For the latest updates and news, follow us on our social channels.

Skip to content