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Why is the age range 16-25 such a crucial time for mental health? Sally Marlow investigates.

20 years ago we didn't have the range of tools we now have to pinpoint physiological differences in brain development at various stages of life. Now it's clear the adolescent brain is still developing, and yet we expect young people to cope with a lot adult situations.

In the second of this three part series mental health researcher Sally Marlow, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London, examines adolescent brain development through neuroscience, environmental stressors, and psychological processes.

Looking back at the brain as far as before birth Sally Marlow explores if there is a particular neurological profile which needs to have developed during childhood for "good" adolescent mental health, and if some young people have specific brain-related vulnerabilities?

Can we really pinpoint triggers for mental illness by looking at brain tissue? Is an approach based on genetics and statistics, just a bit too crude? These are very fashionable ideas currently, but there is quite a negative history attached to concepts of this kind. Sally asks whether and how such ideas can be integrated into effective treatments with positive outcomes for adolescent mental health.

Producer: Julian Siddle.

Available now

28 minutes