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Minding the Gap

A survey of the mental health and well-being of 16-24 year-olds living in a London borough

Minding the Gap

A survey of the mental health and well-being of 16-24 year-olds living in a London borough


Project lead: Tim Hobbs, PhD

The London borough of Camden is re-configuring mental health services for young adults. The Minding the Gap project puts young people at the heart of this service design, improving existing support services and developing an integrated youth hub to fill the gaps in support that is currently available. 



A group of 16 to 24-year-olds from Camden is taking a lead role in designing and implementing the new service. A Young People's Board, comprised of young people from the borough, is involved at every stage of the process from design to delivery.


Our role

DSRU is undertaking a comprehensive survey of the mental health and well-being of over 500 young adults aged 16 to 24 across the Borough. The ChildrenCount Well-being Survey will identify areas of elevated need, what formal and informal supports are available to young people, and the degree to which existing supports overlap with those in need.




Young people will help interpret and contextualise the data via a series of focus groups and interviews. 

These data will help inform the design and development of mental health services for young adults in Camden and act as a baseline assessment of need to monitor trends in mental health and well-being over time. 

Funders and Collaborators

Funders: London Borough of Camden and the Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Collaborators:  Catch 22The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, The Brandon Centre, The Anna Freud Centre, The Winch and The Integrate Movement with BMG Research on the survey fieldwork




Duration: January - September 2015

Outputs and Resources

An interactive e-book, integrating qualitative data and dynamically visualised quantitative data will be produced in the autumn of 2015. 

The ChildrenCount Well-being Survey (16-24)

The ChildrenCount Well-being Survey will provide Camden with unparalleled local data on young people’s health and well-being. It will also help understand the degree to which existing services are meeting the needs of the population.

What does the ChildrenCount Well-being Survey (16-24) measure?

The survey is comprised largely of standardised, validated and reliable measures used elsewhere in social research or existing surveys as well as a small number of bespoke questions. The survey measures a number of ‘key developmental outcomes’ - developmentally specific indicators of poor development that are predictive of outcomes in adulthood, including:

  • Poor Mental health
  • Substance misuse (18+ only)
  • Anti-social behaviour  (18+ only)
  • Not being in education, employment and training

The survey also measures a wide range of risk factors associated with these outcomes, including: 

  • Negative body image
  • Stress
  • Risky sexual behaviour  (18+ only)
  • Adverse childhood experiences (abuse, neglect; 18+ only)
  • Low social support
  • Poor social cohesion
  • Bullying and discrimination  (18+ only)
  • Poor community environment
  • Poor general health
  • Poverty
  • Low self-confidence. 

In addition to this, we also ask about young people’s use and experience of services and informal social support. The complete list of questions asked can be requested from a member of the ChildrenCount team at the DSRU by emailing

How was the survey administered?

The survey was administered to over 500 young adults during the spring of 2015 across Camden. DSRU subcontracted BMG Research to conduct the survey fieldwork. BMG fieldworkers adopted a door-to-door approach to identify eligible households (i.e. those with a young person aged 16-24 years residing) as well as a free-find approach on the streets.

Ethics Review

An ethics committee reviews all new research undertaken by DSRU. In the interests of transparency, all documents related to the ethics review for this project can be accessed from this page. The following three documents collectively provide the public and research participants with information about the process of ethical review for this piece of research:

Process of Ethics Review – this document provides an introduction to the process and requirements for ethical review in the field of social research and introduces the Centre for Social Policy (CSP) Ethics Committee – the body responsible for providing ethical review to SRU research.

Statement of Method and Ethics – this document describes the methodology and ethical considerations raised in the administration of the Minding the Gap Survey. This is the document reviewed by the CSP Ethics Committee during February 2015.

Response by Ethics Committee – this document is the Committee’s response to the ‘Statement of Method and Ethics’. The Committee was asked to review the ethics of the proposed research and highlight any causes for concern and approve the ethics of the research.

Other documents submitted to the ethics committee, including full survey scripts, consent scripts, information letters, safeguarding procedures and information governance arrangements are available on request. 

Family Nurse Partnership

Providing research, analytic and strategic support to the FNP National Unit
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