Youth partnerships in mental health research

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Rationale: In order to achieve meaningful collaboration with young people for mental health research, involvement needs to shift beyond the roles of ‘participants’ and ‘consultants’. However, there is limited evidence by which to guide such partnerships. With the ultimate aim of driving organisational change within the Research Division at Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, this project brings together scientific and anecdotal evidence from around the world about how best to implement youth collaborations in research. Objectives: To synthesise current and past initiatives involving young people with and without lived experience in research (other than as participants), with a specific focus on the barriers and enablers related to the identified projects. Other areas of interest include lessons learnt, sustainable funding structures, evaluation details, recommendations and future plans. Approach: International environmental scan using both targeted (e.g. individual emails based on scientific and grey literature search) and broad scanning approaches (e.g. mailing lists from relevant organisations). Practice and Policy Implications: There is an emerging body of work focused on meaningful involvement of young people in mental health research being undertaken globally, most notably in the UK and Canada. Projects identified in the environmental scan included groups providing a number of services to multiple projects, either specifically for mental health research (e.g. Youth Speak in the UK) and for broader health issues, including dedicated groups for mental health research (e.g. Youth Voices Research Group in Canada). These included activities such as consultation but also more innovative approaches such as youth co-investigators. Identified barriers, enablers and other data can help to inform the development of frameworks, policies and implementation strategies for a range of services as well as individual projects wanting to engage in profounder levels of youth involvement. Conclusion:Genuine partnerships between researchers and young people, including consumer researchers, can help to ensure the quality and significance of study results and maximise the investments made in research. To date there has been a paucity of guidance; however, emerging knowledge based on the experiences of individual projects and groups pioneering work in this area can help to shape future initiatives.

Poster First Author: 
Magenta Simmons
Conference Presented At: 
IAYMH 2015
Poster Date: 
October, 2015
Subject Area Tag: