Meet the researcher: Dr Chris Eaton
21 June 2021
The Wolfson Centre has welcomed a new research associate, who will work across the Centre and Welsh Government.
Dr Chris Eaton, who joined the team in March 2021, will work across the Centre and Welsh Government, to ensure the Centre’s research is informed by government policy priorities for youth mental health, and in turn that the Centre’s research can contribute to national policy development and evaluation in this area.
Dr. Eaton completed his PhD at the MRC CNGG in 2019. Following postdoctoral positions in Birmingham and Edinburgh, Chris has returned to the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences and is already looking forward to getting work underway at the Centre.
His broader research interests include exploring the prevalence of, and risk factors for mental health problems in children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental outcomes such as autism, intellectual disability and epilepsy. Chris is particularly interested in better understanding the signs and symptoms of depression in young people with neurodevelopmental disorders and how best to assess and treat depression in these children and adolescents.
Dr Eaton said, “Poor mental health in young people is associated with negative outcomes across many different areas of their lives. Research into the causes of mental health problems in children and adolescents is vital, as are studies that explore how we can best prevent and treat these difficulties.
“Research into these areas is particularly important given the huge disruption and changes young people have experienced over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wolfson Centre is focused on undertaking research to better understand the risk factors for youth depression and anxiety, outcomes associated with these disorders and how best to support and improve youth mental health. I’m excited about contributing to the Centre’s important planned work.”
“One of the key challenges,” Dr Eaton continued, “is how we promote good mental health in young people from an early age and build resilience.
"In recent years, there’s been a real societal shift toward a greater recognition that mental health difficulties are not a weakness or something to be ashamed of. This is important for allowing young people experiencing mental health problems to seek help and get the care they need.
“My role working across the Wolfson Centre and Welsh Government will help ensure the research coming from the Centre can contribute to step-change in youth mental health policy and that it has direct relevance to the lives of young people who experience mental health problems. With one in five young people in Wales experiencing high levels of mental health difficulties prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s never been a more vital time to undertake research into young people’s mental health."