Plans for a ground-breaking new £65m centre for children and young people’s mental health have been launched today.
The Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People will bring together the world’s-leading experts in clinical care and research from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN).
These two organisations already have a long history of working together.
And building on this foundation, they will create an exceptional centre of care for young people with a focus on the potential of research to identify mental health difficulties early and transform the treatment and care of children and young people in the UK and across the globe.
The announcement comes as figures show that one in eight children and adolescents have a mental health disorder and 50% of adult mental health problems begin before the age of 15.
The ambition is for the new centre, designed by IBI Group, to become a national beacon of excellence that will help to transform lives and be the home of world-class research.
Based in London at the Maudsley Hospital in Denmark Hill, the building will house the Institute for Children and Young People’s Mental Health at King’s College London and the Maudsley and provide space for high-quality mental healthcare.
Our new building is cleverly designed to encourage connections and collaborations which will speed up the time from research to clinical care
It will be designed to enable clinicians and scientists to collaborate, share ideas, and identify treatments that make a real difference to the lives of children, young people and their families.
Teams and individuals from the two world-leading organisations will come together to undertake ground-breaking research to better understand the causes of mental health difficulties, with the aim of halving the time it takes to bring children and families new treatments to help deal with the issues they face.
The initial focus will be on mothers and babies, child trauma, self harm, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), autism, anxiety, depression, and digital technologies.
Both organisations will ensure the findings of their research have long-term impact through education, policy change and public engagement.
David Bradley, chief executive of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform mental health care and research for children and young people in the UK and beyond.
“We are excited by the possibilities that the new centre can bring in supporting our children and young people and making those breakthroughs in research that will help us to deliver world-class care and treatment.”
Professor Ian Everall, executive dean of King’s IoPPN, added: “Difficulties in childhood have an effect on adult life, so it’s really important to intervene early.
“The centre will provide an ideal home for our team of clinicians and researchers so they can really make an impact on the lives of children and young people into adulthood.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform mental health care and research for children and young people in the UK and beyond
“Our new building is cleverly designed to encourage connections and collaborations which will speed up the time from research to clinical care.”
The building will also provide a new home for the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School, which provides highly-personalised education for young people while they are inpatients, making sure they can keep up with their studies at this challenging time in their lives.
The establishment of the institute, and the creation of the centre which will be its home, is made possible through the support of philanthropic foundations and individuals who want to improve the mental health of future generations.
The Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People will be funded by a combination of investments from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, large donations, and a public fundraising campaign which is being launched later this year.
In addition to an initial £10m grant from the Maudsley Charity, two family foundations known for their outstanding commitment to improving the lives of young people, have made very-significant pledges.
The Rayne Foundation made a catalyst gift to the campaign in October 2019, committing a significant sum to the building and it has an interest in additional research funding.
And The Pears Foundation has recently committed a lead gift of £5.5m to the project.