Evidence Based Practice Unit


HeadStart reports & publications

HeadStart national evaluation final report

Heads up policy briefings

HeadStart heads up briefing 8

What has gender got to do with young people’s mental health?

26th April 2023

HeadStart heads up briefing 7

Mental health problems and subjective wellbeing: are they influenced by the same things?

21st November 2022

HeadStart heads up briefing 6

Targeted interventions in HeadStart: how do HeadStart partnerships support the mental health of young people, and do they reach those in need?

6th June 2022

HeadStart heads up briefing 5

Gender differences, improving support, and talking about mental health: learning from the 2020 HeadStart conference

10th July 2020

HeadStart heads up briefing 4

Supporting young people at home: what helps young people with their mental health and wellbeing?

4th June 2020

HeadStart heads up briefing 3

How are systems change and sustainability being approached in HeadStart?

15th October 2019

HeadStart heads up briefing 2

What are HeadStart partnerships doing to support the mental health of children and young people aged 10 to 16?

17th June 2019

HeadStart heads up briefing 1

What are HeadStart interventions focusing on to improve mental health in 10 to 16-year-olds?

1st April 2019

HeadStart evidence briefings

HeadStart evidence briefing 16

Changes in local areas as a result of the HeadStart programme: stakeholder perspectives

2 May 2023

HeadStart evidence briefing 15

Supporting young people’s and families’ mental health and wellbeing: examples and perspectives from parents and carers in HeadStart

31 January 2023

HeadStart evidence briefing 14

Youth participation: models used to understand young people’s participation in school and community programmes

9 August 2022

HeadStart evidence briefing 13

Young people’s experiences of HeadStart: 2017–2021

28th June 2022

HeadStart evidence briefing 12

Learning from HeadStart: changes in perceived social support during early adolescence

19th October 2021

HeadStart evidence briefing 11

Learning from HeadStart: does a brief, school-based intervention aimed at building resilience help children with emerging mental health difficulties?

7th July 2021

HeadStart evidence briefing 10

Delivery of the HeadStart programme during the coronavirus pandemic: HeadStart staff perspectives

1st February 2021

HeadStart evidence briefing 9

HeadStart in schools: What do school staff members think?

15th December 2020

HeadStart evidence briefing 8

Learning from HeadStart: Does cross-age peer mentoring help young people with emerging mental health difficulties?

28th October 2020

HeadStart evidence briefing 7

Learning from HeadStart: the mental health and wellbeing of adolescent boys and girls

5th February 2020

HeadStart evidence briefing 6

Shining a light on risk and protective factors: young people’s experiences

24th January 2020

HeadStart evidence briefing 5

Whole school approaches to promoting mental health: what does the evidence say?

24th October 2019

HeadStart evidence briefing 4

Learning from HeadStart: does social action help young people with emerging mental health issues?

8th April 2019

HeadStart evidence briefing 3

Learning from HeadStart: the relationship between mental health and school attainment, attendance and exclusions in young people aged 11 to 14

5th February 2019

HeadStart evidence briefing 2

HeadStart year 1: national qualitative evaluation findings - young people's perspectives

14th May 2018

HeadStart evidence briefing 1

Mental health problems in young people, aged 11 to 14: results from the first HeadStart annual survey of 30,000 children

11th January 2018

Other resources

At a glance: impact of HeadStart on secondary pupil absence, exclusion and attainment

This study was funded through the Children and Families Policy Research Unit by the National Institute for Health Research Policy Research Programme.

October 2022

Conducting economic evaluations of mental health and wellbeing early intervention and prevention programmes: learning and insights from a real-world implementation context

This study was funded through the Children and Families Policy Research Unit by the National Institute for Health Research Policy Research Programme.

January 2022

Learning from HeadStart: the mental health and wellbeing of boys and girls aged 11 - 14

December 2020

Young people’s experiences during the coronavirus pandemic: views of young HeadStart volunteers

November 2020

What young people in HeadStart told us about: having difficulties and getting support (based on evidence briefing 6)

January 2020

What young people told us about: handling problems and difficult situations (based on evidence briefing 2)

February 2019

Staff perspectives on HeadStart delivery: challenges and solutions

September 2017

Journal articles

Stapley, E., Eisenstadt, M., Demkowicz, O., Stock, S., O'Neill, A., Deighton, J., & Ungar, M. (2023). Early adolescents’ experiences of a school- and community-based prevention program: perceived ‘bridges’ and ‘walls’ to promoting mental health and wellbeingAdvances in Mental Health. doi: 10.1080/18387357.2023.2210704

Demkowicz, O., Panayiotou, M., Qualter, P., & Humphrey, N. (2023). Longitudinal relationships across emotional distress, perceived emotion regulation, and social connections during early adolescence: A developmental cascades investigation. Development and Psychopathology, 1–16. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1017/S0954579422001407 

Jefferies, P., Fritz, J., Deighton, J., & Ungar, M. (2023). Analysis of protective factors in schoolchildren in England using the dual-factor model of mental health. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. doi: 10.1007/s10802-023-01038-z

Carmichael-Murphy, P., Demkowicz, O., & Humphrey, N. (2022). “At Risk” Adolescent Boys’ Engagement With an Employability Intervention: A Qualitative Exploration. Frontiers in Education, 7. doi: 10.3389/feduc.2022.924456 

Lereya, S. T., Patalay, P., & Deighton, J. (2022). Predictors of mental health difficulties and subjective wellbeing in adolescents: A longitudinal study. JCPP Advances, e12074. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcv2.12074

Yoon, Y., Eisenstadt, M., Lereya, S.T., Deighton, J. (2022). Gender difference in the change of adolescents’ mental health and subjective wellbeing trajectories. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-022-01961-4

Stapley, E., Stock, S., Deighton, J. & Demkowicz, O. (2022). A qualitative study of how adolescents’ use of coping strategies and support varies in line with their experiences of adversity. Child Youth Care Forum. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-022-09682-0

Black, L., Panayiotou, M. & Humphrey, N. (2021). Internalizing symptoms, well-being, and correlates in adolescence: A multiverse exploration via cross-lagged panel network models. Development and Psychopathology, 1-15. doi:10.1017/S0954579421000225

Demkowicz, O., Panayiotou, M., & Humphrey, N. (2021) Cumulative risk exposure and emotional symptoms among early adolescent girlsBMC Women's Health 21, 388. doi: 10.1186/s12905-021-01527-7

O’Neill, A., Stapley, E., Stock, S., Merrick, H. & Humphrey, N. (2021). Adolescents' Understanding of What Causes Emotional Distress: A Qualitative Exploration in a Non-clinical Sample Using Ideal-Type Analysis. Front. Public Health, 24 May 2021.

Demkowicz, O., Ashworth, E., Mansfield, R., Stapley, E., Miles, H., Hayes, D., Burrell, K., Moore, A., & Deighton, J. Children and young people’s experiences of completing mental health and wellbeing measures for research: learning from two school-based pilot projects. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health 14, 35 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-020-00341-7 

Humphrey, N. & Panayiotou, M. Bounce Back: randomised trial of a brief, school-based group intervention for children with emergent mental health difficulties. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry (2020). doi: 10.1007/s00787-020-01612-6 

Black, L., Mansfield, R., & Panayiotou, M. (2020). Age Appropriateness of the Self-Report Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Assessment. doi: 10.1177/1073191120903382

Stapley, E., Demkowicz, O., Eisenstadt, M., Wolpert, M. & Deighton, J. (2019). Coping with the stresses of daily life in England: A qualitative study of self-care strategies and social and professional support in early adolescenceJournal of Adolescence doi: 10.1177/0272431619858420 

Lereya, S. T., Patel, M., dos Santos, J.P.G.A., & Deighton, J. (2019). Mental health difficulties, attainment and attendance: a cross-sectional study. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, doi: 10.1007/s00787-018-01273-6.

Deighton, J., Lereya, T. L., Casey, P., Patalay, P., Humphrey, N., & Wolpert, M. (2019). Prevalence of mental health problems in schools: poverty and other risk factors amongst 28,000 adolescents in England. British Journal of Psychiatry, doi: 10.1192/bjp.2019.19.

Black, L., Panayiotou, M., & Humphrey, N. (2019). The dimensionality and latent structure of mental health difficulties and wellbeing in early adolescence. PLOS One, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0213018.

Lereya, S. T., Humphrey, N., Patalay, P., Wolpert, M., Böhnke, J. R., Macdougall A., & Deighton, J. (2016). The student resilience survey: psychometric validation and associations with mental health. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, doi: 10.1186/s13034-016-0132-5.


Stapley, E. (2019). Analysing young people’s experiences of coping with problems, difficult situations and feelings: An evolving approach to analysing qualitative longitudinal evaluation data (Big Qual Analysis Resource Hub).

Maddi (2020). Young people at the forefront: the 2020 HeadStart Learning conference (Evidence Based Practice Unit).