Children in focus: Two new research groups are investigating collaboration and supply structures for the promotion of mental health among children and adolescents

Gruppenfoto Ideas Lab Fotocredit: Scott Middleton

The starting shot for the research programme ‘Mental Health of Children and Adolescents’ was given! In late May 2017, a several-day Ideas Lab was held in Schlosspark Mauerbach. The aim was to establish an interdisciplinary research programme on the topic of ‘children of mentally ill parents’. The concept of ‘talking WITH rather than ABOUT the people affected’ played a major role in shaping the Ideas Lab and the further involvement of those affected and their family members in the research project.


Two research groups received a positive assessment from an international jury consisting of experts in the field of child and adolescent health; both groups were invited to develop a research concept for the following four years. Beginning in 2018, the LBG is making EUR 6 million in funding available for the research programme.


Picture: Working together at the Ideas Lab, 30 international researchers came up with ideas and innovative solutions to promote mental health among children and adolescents.  Fotocredit: Scott Middleton


Evaluation criteria: The research projects were evaluated on the basis of the following criteria: Novelty, interdisciplinarity, involvement of stakeholders, feasibility and impact on societal challenges.

An essential part of both groups is to research from the children's point of view. Surveys with children and adolescents of mentally ill parents will be conducted, and their everyday challenges and needs are going to be addressed. Building upon this, child-appropriate interventions and measures are going to be developed that favour improved collaboration in the network of caregivers and are designed to have a significant impact on the current health system in Austria. To achieve this, the research groups will work closely together with existing networks and patient organisations.


Research Group: Village – how to raise a village to raise a child:  Is a community project designed to promote improvements in collaboration among helper systems and caregiver structures and is tailored to the needs of children of mentally ill parents. The aim is to promote mental health and quality of life of children and adolescents through early recognition of problems by the community and the provision of child-appropriate forms of assistance.

                                                                   Research Group Village



Research Group: D.O.T – Die offene Tür [The Open Door]:  Is a prevention project that uses digital technology to help children and adolescents (whose parents have a mental illness) stay in touch with their former classmates during the phase of transition from elementary school to the next-higher school level. Through online counselling and interventions, individual social skills are strengthened, and contact is facilitated also outside the virtual world, in order to promote adolescent mental health and development. 

                                                                Research Group DOT



A special feature of the new research programme is the involvement of stakeholders, who, as experts by virtue their experience, provide an essential contribution to the research and application of results. The research programme does more than address the need for early support for children and adolescents who have parents with a mental illness; through the multi-professional approach and sensitization of the community, it also helps destigmatise mental illness. Specifically, the research programme helps identify how an interdisciplinary approach can generate solutions to complex challenges in childhood and adolescent mental development.


To the Ideas Lab website


Contact Ideas Lab:
Raphaela Kaisler
Programme Manager
Tel. +43 (0)1 513 27 50-62
raphaela [dot] kaisleratlbg [dot] ac [dot] at