Stress and mental health presentations in secondary school-aged young people


Event type FREE live stream

FREE webinar, via Zoom
17:00 - 18:30 UK time, 18:00 - 19:30 CET, 12 noon - 13:30 EST.
Bookings close on Tuesday 28 November, 17:00 UK time, 17:00 UK time, 18:00 CET, 12 noon EST.

Pupils run to calm down their friend who is crying on the floor in the classroom.

This free webinar is open to all, and is organised by ACAMH’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Special Interest Group.

This webinar will be led by Dr. Ruth Blackburn and Sorcha Ní Chobhthaigh from UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health present research on mental health in secondary school-aged young people.


Sign up to this FREE webinar at this link or on the Book Now button at the top of the screen, and complete the form that follows. You’ll then receive an email confirmation and a link to the webinar, plus we’ll send you a calendar reminder nearer the time.

  • ACAMH Members attending will be eligible for a FREE electronic CPD certificate. Members MUST login to book onto the webinar and get their certificate.
  • Non-members can opt to receive an electronic CPD certificate for just £5, select this option at the point of booking. This is a great time to join ACAMH, take a look at what we have to offer
  • PLEASE NOTE: You cannot book onto this event after the event has started on Tuesday 28 November, 17:00 UK time

Don’t forget as a charity any surplus made is reinvested back as we work to our vision of ‘Sharing best evidence, improving practice’, and our mission to ‘Improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 0-25’. 

About the webinar

Young people with urgent mental health needs often have few alternatives but to come to the emergency department. Emergency acute hospital admissions can therefore signal important gaps in school and community mental health provision. In this research we used administrative data from schools and hospitals to investigate stress and mental health presentations in secondary school-aged young people in England.

Although schools can offer structure, stability and social support networks to many students, this is not the experience for all children. Teacher interactions, self-perception of one’s own academic abilities, academic stress, experiences of discrimination, unfair treatment and peer relationships or victimisation may be sources of distress. Manifestations of stress can be emotional, including anxiety, low mood, feelings of alienation or failure; behavioural, including disruptive or aggressive behaviour, substance misuse or self-harming; and physiological, including somatic symptoms such as abdominal pain, headache or fainting that are medically unexplained. These symptoms are common, often coexist and – without intervention – these individuals may have poorer long term mental health.

In this seminar, we will share findings from a collection of studies that used linked longitudinal hospital and schools records for all young people in England. Together, our research examined unmet mental health need using stress-related emergency admissions, specifically those related to medically unexplained pain or somatic symptoms, self-harm, mental health-related symptoms or externalising behaviours. During the seminar, we will provide an overview of the trends in stress-related hospital admissions. We will take a closer look at the differences between term times and holiday periods, which pupils and schools are most affected, as well as address the issue of inequalities in accessing mental health care based on ethnicity. Finally, we will discuss the importance of the school environment in supporting the mental health of young people.

About the Speakers

Dr Ruth Blackburn
I am a Senior Research Fellow at the UCL GOSH Institute of Child Health. I work on the ECHILD project, with a particular focus on mental health in children, young people and their families.  This work builds on my post-doctoral UKRI Innovation Fellowship at the UCL Institute of Health Informatics that developed linked datasets to examine adolescent health in schools, particularly those relating to stress, self-harm, violence, and drug or alcohol-use.  My wider research interests reflect using data science for public health evaluation and policy intervention for vulnerable population groups including people with experience of homelessness, substance misuse and long-term mental or physical health conditions.

Sorcha Ní Chobhthaigh (name pronunciation – first name: “sir-ka” last name: “nee kuff-ig”)
I am a PhD candidate based primarily at the Institute of Global Health as well as the Institute of Child Health and Institute of Education, supervised by Prof. Delan Devakumar, Prof. Praveetha Patalay, Dr. Rochelle Burgess and Dr. Matthew Jay. I previously worked as a mental health clinician and psycho-educational consultant across community agencies, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and hospital settings. My PhD research explores bias in the identification of mental health difficulties and access to mental health services, with a particular focus on addressing structural and procedural barriers to care for racially minoritised communities. I hope to apply the knowledge and insights gained from my work with individuals and families to conduct research focused on supporting the mental health of racially minoritised children and young people on a larger scale.