Started in 2016, HeadStart was a six-year, £67.4 million National Lottery funded programme set up by The National Lottery Community Fund. It aimed to explore and test new ways to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 10–16 and prevent serious mental health issues from developing. To do this, six local-authority-led HeadStart partnerships worked with local young people, schools, families, charities, community and public services to design and try out new interventions aiming to promote young people’s mental health, wellbeing and resilience. The six HeadStart partnerships were based in Blackpool, Cornwall, Hull, Kent, Newham and Wolverhampton.  

As a test and learn programme HeadStart ended in July 2022, with many of the approaches having been sustained and embedded locally. We will complete the national evaluation of HeadStart by mid-2023.

The final report is now available. You can find this and all of the following on the Anna Freud website here

  • HeadStart national evaluation final report
  • HeadStart evidence briefings
  • HeadStart case studies
  • HeadStart heads up briefings
  • What young people and staff members told us
  • Publications by the National Insititute for Health Research (NIHR)

HeadStart resources

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