Ucan is a Mental Health Foundation project set up to support young people with long-term physical health conditions manage their mental health

Partners: Young Scot, Action for Sick Children, Arthritis Care Scotland, and Alliance Scotland

Quick fact: Children with a long-term physical illness are twice as likely to suffer from mental health problems [i]


Young people have developed a tool called Ucards – a set of cards which enables them to effectively inform other people how their condition affects them and what support they may require. Many of the young people involved said that other people’s misconceptions of their illness led to frustration, anxiety and feelings of isolation. The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (Alliance) liked the idea of Ucards and has provided funding to the Mental Health Foundation to test the benefits of Ucards with young people aged 11 to 18 who have long-term physical health conditions in Scotland.


Rachael Hood, Families, Children and Young People Manager

“We’re really excited to be working with such committed and passionate organisations as together we try to understand more about how growing up with a long term physical health condition impacts on a young person’s wellbeing. Most importantly, Ucan gives us the opportunity to explore these themes directly with young people, who will continue to shape the project every step of the way and ultimately will decide what works and what is next.  Over the next few months, young people across Scotland will test out Ucards, finally coming together for a second co-design phase to consider what action we can take together; whether this is about ‘going digital’ or raising awareness through a campaign, the voices of young people will be at the heart of what we do.

For more information, please contact:

Rachael Hood (Families, Children and Young People’s Manager)


[i] Royal College of Psychiatrists (2017) Mental health and growing up fact sheet. Retrieved from www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/parentsandyouthinfo/parentscarers/chronicphysicalillnesses.asp