Depression: Identifying and Supporting Children and Young People


Event type Talk with Q&A

Live stream webinar
15:45 - 18:15 UK time
Bookings close at 1pm UK time on Weds 8 Feb.

Depressed teenager

This FREE webinar covers an especially important topic, particularly following the pandemic, as children may struggle to articulate how they are feeling, and parents/teachers may not know how to approach the child. It is also important as many people perceive children are resilient and will ‘spring back’, however this view may be harmful for children who need help.

Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in children and young people, with a prevalence ranging from 0.4-8.3% , while the lifetime prevalence throughout adolescence could reach as high as 20% (Grover & Avasthi, 2019). Depression can disturb social functioning, familial connections and educational attainment, all of which have lifelong effects on employment and social status (Clayborne, Varin, & Colman, 2019; Dunn & Weintraub, 2008; Kessler & Bromet, 2013; Pan & Brent, 2018; Sagatun, Wentzel-Larsen, Heyerdahl, & Lien, 2016).

About the webinar

The day is going to be split into two sections: identifying and supporting.

In the first section, Dr Iryna Culpin will be discussing risk factors for depression in children and young people, as well as gender differences in these risk factors. Dr Alex Boyd will then explore how depression can present at home and at school, with particular focus on more nuanced presentations.

Gabrielle Hale will then be presenting her PhD study on the role of exercise in combatting depression. This will then be followed by the PIPA Trial is exploring the effectiveness of an online resource for parents/carers to help reduce depression and anxiety in young people. The trial is being coordinated by the University of Warwick and involves families of young people aged 11-15 years from schools in the UK.

Who should attend

This webinar will be aimed at parents, teachers, educational professionals, Educational Psychologist, pastoral care support, and school staff focusing on how to recognise and support children and young people who may be depressed.

It may also be of interest to those with an interest in the aspects of the topic, those working with children and young people, and/or and interest in mental health such as social care workers and leaders, youth-based service workers and leaders, and parents/carers. Plus of course mental health professionals.

About the talks

Dr. Iryna CulpinDepression in children and young people: family risk factors and underlying mechanisms’

Childhood and adolescence are sensitive periods in development, with mental health difficulties, including depression, representing the greatest burden of disease among children and young people. In childhood depression may be more common in boys but becomes more prevalent in girls during adolescence. Findings of my research suggest that timing of pubertal development may be one factor underlying age and gender differences in depression between boys and girls. Family structure, specifically biological father absence during early childhood, is associated with more severe depression trajectories across adolescence and early adulthood, with effects being stronger for girls than boys. Maternal and paternal depression may be reciprocally associated, with maternal depression consistently emerging as one of the strongest risk factors for offspring depression in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. Depression in fathers is also associated with increased risk of emotional, behavioural and peer problems in childhood and adolescence, with some evidence suggesting that boys are worse affected. Mechanisms that explain transmission of mental health risks in families are still not well understood. However, parenting and parent-child relationship characterised by higher levels of conflict and lower levels of warmth and support may explain the negative influence of maternal and paternal depression on the child in childhood and early adulthood. Programmes that support families through depression with specific focus on alleviating parental depressive symptoms and strengthening quality of parent-child relationship may prove beneficial in improving family health and well-being.

Learning outcomes

  • To summarise evidence related to family risk factors for depression in children and young people.
  • To describe evidence related to mechanisms that may explain increased risk for depression in children and young people of parents with depression.


Dr. Alex Boyd ‘Feeling blue, how depression may present in young people and how parents, carers and adults working with young people can recognise the signs and symptoms of depression.’

This talk with cover how to recognise some of the signs and symptoms on young people with depression. How low mood and feeling blue is different to clinical depression.

Learning outcomes

  • To spot the signs and symptoms of when a young person maybe depressed.
  • How feeing low is different to clinical depression


Gabrielle Hale, ‘The Role of Professional Football Clubs in Enhancing the Mental Health and Well-Being of Young People’

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that children aged five to 17 should participate in an average of 60 minutes physical activity each week, and evidence indicates that those who are more physically active demonstrate greater psychological well-being and lower levels of psychological ill-being (e.g., depression). This is due to various biopsychosocial influences, including changes to the structural composition of the brain, increased confidence, and opportunities for social interaction. Despite these benefits, many do not meet the WHO recommendations.

Various factors can prevent physical activity participation during childhood, including preferences for electronic media, time devoted to academic activities, lack of parental support, bullying, and peer judgments. There is an urgent need to address these barriers, as children who lead sedentary lifestyles are at greater risk of psychological ill-being due to the absence of the positive influence of the biopsychosocial factors outlined above. Taken together, it is reasonable to suggest that interventions that target both physical activity and psychological health could be used to address concerns, by encouraging a physically active lifestyle whilst enhancing well-being and preventing the onset of ill-being in later life.

In this talk I will present data from my PhD research, which has evaluated programmes that are delivered by the charitable trusts that are attached to professional football clubs in the UK. These programmes are delivered by community outreach workers and include a combination of 1) football games, and 2) psychoeducation sessions designed to enhance children’s overall understanding of mental health and well-being. One of the key outcomes from my research will be the development and piloting of a model of best practise which is designed to enhance the psychological well-being of children using a combination of classroom and physical activity-based sessions.

Learning outcomes

  • To understand the role of physical activity in improving young people’s mental health
  • To identify the types of community-based interventions that are being delivered to young people by UK professional football clubs
  • To understand the impact that these programmes can have on young people’s mental health


Nicole De Valliere and Mrs Oliver,The PIPA Trial: an online parenting intervention to prevent affective disorders in high-risk adolescents’

Difficulties with mental health in adolescence can increase the risk of behavioural, psychosocial and vocational difficulties in adulthood. This highlights the importance of recognising these difficulties early and providing early intervention and support to improve outcomes for young people. Families are well-placed to notice changes in young people’s wellbeing but may struggle with understanding how best to support them and how to seek help which can be very distressing. Improving families’ knowledge and awareness of mental health and wellbeing, including practical tips and strategies on how best to support their child is important. Schools also play an important role in providing support for families and young people. The PIPA Trial is working with schools and families in the UK to explore the effectiveness of an online resource to support families and help reduce depression and anxiety in young people.

Learning outcomes

  • To understand what the PIPA Trial is and what it aims to do.
  • To understand how the PIPA Trial works with schools and families.
  • To recognise some of the challenges faced in conducting the trial.

About the speakers

Nicole De Valliere
Nicole De Valliere

Nicole is a Research Associate at the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit (University of Warwick). Her previous research focused on early intervention in psychosis and patient and public involvement in research. Nicole is currently working on the National Institute for Health and Care Research funded PIPA Trial which is focused on youth mental health. She will provide an overview of the PIPA Trial and discuss how the trial is working with schools and families to support young people with their mental health.

Dr. Alex Boyd
Dr. Alex Boyd

Dr. Alex Boyd is an experienced Clinical Psychologist and accredited CBT therapist who works both in independent practice and at the University of Exeter, as part of CEDAR, training other professionals in evidenced based parenting and mental health interventions to support young people and families. She will provide an overview how depression may present in young people and how parents, carers and adults working with young people can recognise the signs and symptoms of depression as well as how to find further support when needed.

Dr. Iryna Culpin
Dr. Iryna Culpin

Dr. Iryna Culpin shares her time between Bristol University as a Research Fellow and Manchester Metropolitan University as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology. Her research is broadly focused on family and environmental factors that increase risk of depression in children and young people, including family structure, parental mental health, parenting, parent-child relationship, and socio-economic circumstances. Dr Culpin is currently working on a Wellcome Trust funded programme of research to understand transmission of mental health risks in families and gaining insight into mechanisms (e.g., parent-child relationship) that underlie increased risk of adverse development in children of parents with mental health difficulties.

Gabrielle Hale
Gabrielle Hale

Gabrielle Hale, PhD candidate and lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of South Wales. Research interests include the impact of physical activity in enhancing the mental health of children and young people. PhD project has explored the impact of community-based interventions that are delivered by UK professional football clubs and are designed to improve young people’s mental health.