- NEWS -

We completed our first funding call in July and have awarded grants to the following projects, all due to start in October and November 2019.


Vulnerability, Online Lives and Mental Health: Towards a New Practice Model


Lead applicant: Dr. Aiman El Asam, Kingston University London


Adrienne Katz, Youthworks Consulting

Claire Levens, Internet Matters

Dr Cathy Street, Consultant

Professor Andy Phippen, University of Plymouth

Grant awarded: £44,381

Duration: 12 months


Vulnerable young people face many challenges. Practitioners and professionals address these; but are often unaware of the young person’s digital life and the role that might play in their wellbeing and mental health. We aim to develop a new practice model that incorporates the digital aspect to enable interventions and support to be more effective.

To develop an evidence-based practice model, the feasibility study will undertake:

  1. New quantitative research on relationships between mental/emotional health and digital life amongst UK teenagers: risks, addictions, e-safety, parental and self-censorships and friendships) and mental health (Depression, Anxiety, Loneliness, Self-esteem, and Conduct Problems).

  2. A qualitative study on frontline practitioners’ opinions and requirements regarding the digital lives of vulnerable youth relative to their mental health and risks.

  3. A draft practice model will assist decision-making and alert users to contextual aspects of their clients’/patients’ digital lives. Based on research, plus frontline skills and experience, teamed with online safety advice, this suite could be a vital contribution to the care of young people at risk.

  4. Based on these initial stages, a full proposal will seek to pilot and validate the newly developed practice model, among local authority frontline services over 2 years.

Exploring understandings of digital resilience to inform the development of a Digital Resilience Scale (DRS) for ‘pre-teens’ (9-12 year olds)


Lead applicant: Dr Simon P Hammond, University of East Anglia


Dr Kimberley Bartholomew, UEA

Dr Richard Graham, Clinical Director, Good Thinking: The London Digital Mental Well-being Service

Grant awarded: £24,853.25

Duration: 9 months


Digital resilience (DR) is a term increasingly used by various stakeholders and cited as playing a key role in promoting positive, whilst buffering negative, influences of digital environments on young people’s mental health. However, despite its uses, the research-informed evidence-base underpinning DR is embryonic. Interventions rely on low quality evidence, leaving practitioners to struggle to optimise content and/or delivery method(s) due to a lack of a focused robust evaluative scale.

 Using the UKCIS definition of DR as a starting point, we will develop a Digital Resilience Scale (DRS) to address this practice, research and policy gap. In the first instance, the scale will target ‘pre-teens’ (9-12 year olds) as this period is particularly important in promoting positive mental health trajectories. We will:

  1. Undertake a literature review to develop conceptual knowledge, identify possible subcomponents and relevant previous scales (e.g. Patient Activation Scale, Scale of Protective Factors and Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale);

  2. Work with stakeholders (including young people, parents/guardians and children’s workforce professionals) to co-produce an exploration of stakeholder’s understandings of DR;

  3. Develop initial pool of items for DRS;

  4. Pilot prototype DRS;

  5. Refine and evaluate DRS.

Care leaver relationships, mental health and social media


Lead applicant: Dr Autumn Roesch-Marsh, University of Edinburgh


Dr Karen Cooper, University of Edinburgh

Charlie Hackett, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

Dr Ruth Emond, University of Stirling

Dr Kate Orton-Johnson, University of Edinburgh

Dr Robin Sen, University of Sheffield

Dr Maggie Grant, Adoption and Fostering Scotland

Professor Emily Munro, University of Bedfordshire

Professor Jonathan Wyatt, University of Edinburgh

Aftercare Service and Transition Team and the Young People’s Working Group @ Dean and Cauvin Young People’s Trust

Grant awarded: £44,999

Duration: 12 months


This project will explore which social media platforms young people leaving care use to make and maintain relationships, what they hope for from these relationships, what they see as the risks and benefits of these environments for their relationships and their mental health, and what kind of training for professionals might improve support for young people. In phase one of the project we will conduct a small pilot study investigating young people’s personal communities and the use of social media as a relationship practice and how these environments and practices impact on mental health. This will involve some collaboration with young people about the questions and methods through art-based workshops which have been shown to be an excellent way to engage young people with sensitive topics (Bagnoli 2009). We will also conduct two focus groups involving a cross section of professionals and carers who work with care leavers. In phase two we will hold two knowledge exchange events to share reflections on the themes generated by the research and engage with previously conducted research. This will inform the final phase where training materials will be developed and piloted; this will begin to the answer the question about ‘effective interventions’, which will be followed up in a larger funding application.

Live Streaming Youth and Mental Health: The Twitch Platform Symposium [TwitchSym]


Lead applicant: Dr Matthew Hart, University of Leicester


Athina Karatzogianni, University of Leicester

Di Levine, University of Leicester

Jonatan Ellicott, The Diana Award

Grant awarded: £7037

Duration: 12 months


The “Live Streaming Youth and Mental Health: The Twitch Platform Symposium” [TwitchSym] aligns with eNurture’s research objectives by aiming to address the following research challenge by coordinating the activities below:

Research Challenge: Strengthening partnerships between public, private and third sector stakeholders to address mental health issues affecting live streaming youth by managing risks and promoting opportunities in the environment of live streaming. Indicative activities include:

a. Providing an expert and innovative, yet impactful symposium, which situates youth engagement at its centre, and it is relevant for industry, government, live streaming company actors, charities and others, by bringing together mental health and adolescent development expertise with expertise regarding live streaming challenges and opportunities.

b. Advancing methodologies and databases for studying the interplay between live streaming and adolescent mental health, by investigating a particular widely popular under-researched emerging platform.

c. Producing a Policy Brief to explain the ‘enurturing’ needs associated with different mental health issues, identified in relation to live streaming, which is in turn to be live streamed and presented by young people on the Twitch platform itself.

d. Developing a future funding proposal for eNurture with the aim to attract funding for a larger research project with symposium participants.

Prototyping TangToys (Tangible Toys to Improve Mental Health): Explorative work for designing digital technology for and with Children with Intellectual Disability


Lead applicant: Eiman Kanjo, Nottingham Trent University


Prof. David Brown, Nottingham Trent University

Gosia M Kwiatkowska, University of East London, RIX Centre

Mr David S Stewart OBE, Oak Field School, Nottingham.

Professor Carrie Paechter, Nottingham Children Centre

Dr. Pratik Vyas, ECR, Nottingham Trent University

Grant awarded: £23,889

Duration: 12 months


 The project will attempt to find a new way to utilise smart devices to engage and transform the wellbeing of Children with Intellectual Disabilities who might be disadvantaged in the traditional digital environment.

 With a Focus on Schools and Peers, our project will:

  • Explore how the co-creation of wearable and tangible interfaces can change the ways in which children with Intellectual Disability interact and communicate with their Peers, Teachers and Families, and what this can mean for their mental health (e.g., tackling Diagnostic Overshadowing).

  • Identify the risks and opportunities stemming from the co-design of such technologies using both quantitative and qualitative methods when working with students with Intellectual Disability, their families, schools and professional agencies to improve their mental health outcomes.

  • Identify how we co-design future research objectives and methods of dissemination of this new knowledge with our end user communities to best engage present and future practice models aimed at promoting positive mental health and reducing negative mental health trajectories for young people with Intellectual Disability (including those with Special Education Needs).

 We form an essentially multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration involving Computer Scientists, Social Scientists and those working in Special Education, working in collaboration with young people with ID.