Led by Professor Tony Holland at the University of Cambridge, this theme involves a diverse group of children, young people, and adults ‘at risk’ of mental and/or physical health inequalities. The EDD theme’s overarching aim is to promote inter-disciplinary, mixed methods, high quality applied health research and implementation projects that will improve the mental and physical health and well-being of a diverse group of children, young people and adults likely to be adversely affected, across a range of situations, by life-long developmental disabilities (learning(intellectual) disabilities (LD)), autism spectrum conditions), acquired disabilities (mental health needs, brain injury (ABI)) and/or extreme disadvantage (young people in care outside their family home). The individuals who fall within the scope of the theme are both especially vulnerable to poor mental and/or physical health and have difficulties in accessing appropriate services. Even where appropriate service are available, it may be hard for these individuals to recognise their mental and/or physical health needs, let alone make contact with and engage with relevant diagnostic services, treatment or support. Often, healthcare will be delivered primarily in collaboration with a third party, such as a carer, support worker, foster parent, or a social care provider. Such arrangements may create additional complexity because the support system may itself be complex and fragile. Research projects in this theme are developed from the experiences of individuals and their care-givers and the analysis of legislation and policy (such as the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Care Act 2014, the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) as well as the relevant academic literature, but they seek to always provide findings that, when implemented, will:
- limit the impact of enduring disability and/or disadvantage on individuals, their carers and paid care-givers, services and society
- improve the quality of life of an often marginalised group of children, young people and adults and enhance their ability to engage in the activities associated with citizenship.