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Blog – BrainWaves One Year Anniversary!

Celebrating one year of BrainWaves! Shaping the future of adolescent wellbeing

This week marks a year since the launch of BrainWaves, and a year since we started building our community of Research Schools/Colleges on our journey towards revolutionising adolescent mental health education!

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One whole year, in which we have achieved so much, meeting and surpassing all that we hoped to deliver. None of this could have been possible without the amazing Research Schools/Colleges who have partnered with us so far.

Real-life research

Over the last year, an incredible 34 institutions have signed up to become BrainWaves Research Schools/Colleges – including sixth form colleges, consortiums and specialist schools. The students at these schools/colleges have had the opportunity to work closely with the University of Oxford – getting involved in real-life, active research studies, taking part in lessons, sharing their opinions and making their voices heard.

The BrainWaves Wellbeing Curriculum

We now have 17 lessons available on our website with many more planned as part of our FREE spiral wellbeing curriculum for students aged 11-14, 14-16 and 16-18. These lessons have reached over 940 schools, are impacting tens of thousands of students and have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both teachers and students.

Over 11,500 students, along with many teachers, joined our education evaluation study and have given feedback on the BrainWaves lessons. This feedback is helping us to continually improve these lessons and make sure they connect with young people.

Taking part in mental health research

Over 4,200 students aged 16-18 years took part in our Consent Trial throughout autumn-23 / spring-24, examining the issues relating to getting young people to give their consent to take part in health-related research. This ground-breaking study helped us when preparing for collecting our first set of Cohort Study data, where over 7,200 students aged 16-18 years completed a 40-minute questionnaire about their mental health.

Over the next few months, we will be sending out individual reports to participating schools, highlighting the trends in their cohorts’ wellbeing and we look forward to our next Cohort Study data collection point in November 2024.

Using the data collected

Students and teachers have really enjoyed the opportunity to join in with these studies and help us make a difference. With their help, we aim to transform what we know and understand about adolescent mental health and use the data we collected to develop interventions specifically designed to improve teenage wellbeing.

The benefits of becoming a BrainWaves Research School/College

Our Research Partners are supported by our team of School Liaison Managers who work closely with the BrainWaves lead coordinators in each school or college. As well as each school and college receiving a termly wellbeing gift, teachers have the opportunity to take part in our Teacher Wellbeing Prize Draw. So far this year, winning teachers have chosen a Netflix movie night / hamper selection and a 6 month book subscription as their respective prizes!

Networking opportunities and CPD

We are now looking forward to our inaugural Networking Day in June for BrainWaves leads at Research Schools and Colleges, where we will have a chance to discuss the BrainWaves research and hear from insightful and inspiring speakers on mental health within schools. This event marks the start of the development of our BrainWaves Research School community that we hope will go from strength to strength, with lead teachers sharing experiences and learning from each other.

Since launch, we have run 9 free webinars on a range of issues relating to mental health – the teenage brain, sleep, positive psychology and how you can help support students’ wellbeing. These webinars are free to attend and are all available to rewatch at any time.

Making a difference

As we celebrate this one-year anniversary, we also celebrate the BrainWaves community, including our inspiring Research Schools and Colleges who unite with us in a common goal. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of young people and shaping the future of adolescent mental health research.

Want to join us on this journey?

Contact the BrainWaves School Liaison team at support@brainwaveshub.org to find out more and set up a conversation about what’s involved in becoming a BrainWaves Research School/College.

About the author

Abbie Simpkin is a School Research Liaison Manager at BrainWaves, responsible for supporting BrainWaves Schools/Colleges. She was previously a music teacher at Key Stage 3-5.