In my inaugural lecture earlier this summer I asked the question, what are the root causes of the economic inequalities in our society, and why have these been so difficult to budge?
This is a question that I’ve been asking ever since, early in my own research career, I was part of a team of economists demonstrating for the first time in historical context the huge rise in income inequality which had taken place over the 1980s in Britain. This change had transformed us from a relatively low-inequality country to a high one in the space of around 10 years. Fast-forward to today, we remain just as, if not more, unequal.
Some of the most important answers to my question come from the national birth cohort studies that we run at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), (more…)
If I asked you what makes a child happy, one possible answer would be the opposite of what makes them sad. This would be considered a non-controversial response. The intuitive assumption when considering subjective wellbeing and psychological distress is that factors associated with one are associated with the other – albeit in the opposite direction. But what if we’re wrong? What if wellbeing and mental illness, or happy and sad, are not two sides of the same mental health coin?
We set out to investigate this question using data from more than 12,000 children born across the UK in 2000-01 who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). Our (more…)
This week Centre for Mental Health and the University College London Institute of Education published new data showing that children from the lowest income families are four times more likely to have mental health problems than those from the highest earning backgrounds.
With funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Institute and the Centre have been studying data on the mental health of children born in 2000 and 2001 up to the age of 11. The children are all part of the Millennium Cohort Study, which collects anonymised information over a number of years about children born at the turn of the century.
Using reports from both parents and teachers, we now have information about the mental health of children (more…)
Last week, the Duchess of Cambridge launched the first children’s mental health week on behalf of Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity. The message was clear, mental health challenges are not a sign of weakness but a normative part of development.
These challenges are frequently reactions to stress and adversity, whether a traumatic life event, examination anxiety, bereavement, bullying, domestic violence, neglect or abuse. Children should have prompt access to support interventions. A recent survey by Young Minds found that 60% of parents did not feel adequately supported in managing their child’s needs and 25% waited more than a year to access services.
This Saturday, 28 February, the London Festival of Education will put a spotlight on these issues, among others, with sessions (more…)