• 12Feb

    Involving children and young people in mental health research

    One in ten young people will experience a mental health problem. Research can help identify the best ways to treat and prevent mental ill health and to preserve and promote good mental health.

    Children and young people have an important role to play in shaping mental health research. The first National Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group was established in January 2014 by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN): Mental Health.

    The Group is made up of fourteen 16-24 year olds, all with experience of mental health issues or having supported someone who has. Members come from across England and have a wide range of experiences and interests. Meetings are held once every six weeks in London.

    The Group invites researchers or research teams to each of its meetings in order to discuss specific studies and provide advice and support.

    The objectives of the Group are to:

    • Act as the main point of contact for researchers seeking patient and public involvement on studies relating to young people.
    • Raise the profile of research in to young people’s mental health.
    • Promote the young service user/carer perspective in mental health research and the work of the CRN: Mental Health.
    • Identify and share good practice in service user and carer involvement.
    • Produce and review pieces of work that benefit the CRN: Mental Health and the wider NIHR.
    • Construct innovative ideas and initiatives that involve young service users and carers.
    • Collaborate with the wider NIHR family and charities on specific projects.

    The group is part of a national group called GenerationR (R for Research), made up of six groups across the UK based in Liverpool (Alder Hey NHS Children’s Foundation Trust), London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Bristol.  Each group has a role to help researchers with their studies to make them more appropriate for children taking part in research.

    Jenny Preston, Patient and Public Involvement Manager who is based at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust co-ordinates the GenerationR programme, and is quick to emphasise the benefits that involving children and young people in research can have.

    In order to identify solutions on tackling major health problems such as mental health issues in children and young people then we must involve them and their families in shaping mental health services and research. This can only lead to better outcomes for children and young people.

    To find out more about mental health and young people click on the following link: https://www.crn.nihr.ac.uk/mentalhealth/youngpeople