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Thank you for your interest in the EMERGENT study.
Read on to find out about this national trial and how the results could improve the mental health of thousands of children.
If you are interested in taking part, click the button below to see if you are eligible.

About the study

The EMERGENT study, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, is a national trial exploring how the Embers the Dragon programme can help support parents' and children’s mental health and wellbeing. The research will be carried out by London South Bank University (LSBU).

The Embers the Dragon programme is a psychoeducation and self-help programme for parents/guardians, teachers, and children aged four-seven years.

The programme aims to support children’s social and emotional skills by engaging them in activities that encourage more helpful ways of thinking and feeling.

The digital world of Keiki Island, where Embers the Dragon and his friends learn about their emotions through their daily adventures, is designed to be used by children, parents, and teachers too.

The programme consists of 12 short cartoon episodes, each approximately six to seven minutes long. In each episode, children will be immersed in the adventures of Embers the Dragon and his friends as they explore common challenges of childhood.

Keiki Island

Why is the study important?

One in every six children is diagnosed with a mental health challenge, yet two-thirds with low-level needs cannot access support.

Unlike clinician-led parenting courses (which have significant waiting lists and dropout rates), the Embers the Dragon programme can be accessed directly by parents and teachers, either on its own or whilst awaiting mental health assessment. The Embers the Dragon programme could therefore reach more families and make help more accessible.

Initial evaluations have shown promising outcomes. However, we need to be confident in how well it works in the context of a larger and more carefully controlled trial. Our national trial will independently test how well the Embers the Dragon programme works when used by a wide range of families, which is why we would love your support.

What will I have to do?

If you decide to take part in the study, you will be randomly assigned to either have access to the Embers the Dragon programme immediately, or you will be put on the waiting list for six months (but don’t worry - everyone will be offered access to the Embers the Dragon programme once the study has ended).

For those who have immediate access to the Embers the Dragon programme, you can watch cartoon episodes with your child, as well as receive other resources to help your child develop their behavioural and communication skills (e.g. tips from behaviour experts, activity worksheets, etc.).

Everyone who takes part in the study will be asked to complete a series of surveys online at four separate time points over a 24 week period.

You and your child will also be invited to take part in an optional interview to discuss what you thought about the Embers the Dragon programme.


Who can take part?

Parents of children aged four-seven years who are concerned about their children’s mental health and wellbeing.

How do I take part?

Getting involved in the EMERGENT study couldn't be easier. All you need to do is click the button below to complete a quick screening questionnaire to see if you are eligible.

If you meet the criteria, you will be automatically redirected to an information and consent form.

After consenting, you will receive an email from the research team with instructions on how to proceed.

Lele butterfly park
Yazumis bedroom
Spikes living room
Keiki market full version
Yazumis house
Bo Pandas bedroom

Meet the team

We'd like to introduce you to the research team from LSBU's School of Applied Sciences who will be conducting the independent study.

Here's a little bit about them:

Professor Daniel Frings

Prof. Daniel Frings
Associate Dean for
Research and Enterprise

Daniel's research interests include mental health and wellbeing and he is experienced in running clinical trials of complex interventions in both NHS and non-NHS settings.

Professor Paula Reavey

Prof. Paula Reavey
Professor of Psychology
and Mental Health

Paula's research focuses on examining the lived experience of individuals who live with distress. She has been involved in numerous funded national trials evaluating general and secure adult, as well as children and adolescent, mental health service use. 
Doctor Jowinn Chew

Dr. Jowinn Chew
Research Fellow
Psychology Division

Jowinn’s research interests include the psychological aspects of chronic illness and the use of digital health interventions to support vulnerable populations.

Charlotte Taylor-Page (3)

Charlotte Taylor-Page
Research Associate
Psychology Division

Charlotte's research interests focus on the lived experiences of distress and education using qualitative methods. She is currently an LSBU doctoral candidate.

Professional support

If you have an immediate need and feel that you would like to speak to someone, there are a number of UK charities that may be able to help you:

Mind - mental health support online and via a helpline 0300 123 3393

Relate - relationship counselling and support + several local centres across the UK

Refuge - offers 24/7 domestic abuse support either online or by dialing 0808 2000 247


Data protection and privacy

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