World Mental Health Day 2023 theme is mental health is a universal human right.

Atlantic Futures research stream 4, Digital Mental Health for Young People, aims to ensure access to mental health for young people is a universal human right, the theme of World Health Day 2023.

By engaging with young people, we will gain an understanding of their needs and how digital interventions can best meet these to inform policy makers both North and South that such methods are cost effective and efficacious.

Young people across the island of Ireland are experiencing higher rates of mental health difficulties than ever before. Since 2020, there has been a substantial increase in demand for mental health services, yet youth mental health supports in Ireland and Northern Ireland remain over-stretched and under-resourced, lacking not only timely but also appropriate mental health care. Consultations with young people on their mental health over the last three years highlighted that there is a need for a better understanding of how to respond to young people’s mental health needs in new ways, including evidence-based digital mental health supports, and to explore how these supports are best implemented on the ground. This is especially important for marginalised youth with mental health needs who would otherwise unlikely seek help.

Leading the research stream on digital mental health for young people, Professor Maurice Mulvenna, Ulster University said;

Our team of researchers at Ulster University and University of Galway are exploring innovative, accessible digital supports and services that promote youth mental health in partnership with young people across the island of Ireland, especially for those who are marginalised.

This work aims to engage young people and the staff who support them in health, youth and community services in order to

  • Identify digital mental health challenges facing young people across the island of Ireland.
  • Identify appropriate digital mental health tools and interventions.
  • Validate, in partnership with young people, what digital mental health interventions work.
  • Use findings to inform policy and practice to be adopted by health providers across the island of Ireland.

In the coming months, the project team will engage with young people and the organisations that support them through the facilitation of workshops to shape the focus of the overall research study.

If you are interested in this work and want to contact the research team, you can register your interest or email or

This study is part of a broader four-year cross-border research project Atlantic Futures, which is funded by The North-South Research Programme.