Published on March 23, 2017

Calling local areas: do you want to host our project on youth mental health?

MH:2K - a youth-led approach to exploring mental health People & participation

By Sarah Allan

Sarah Allan is Engagement Lead at Involve. She has a wide ranging background in research, campaigning and project management, and a long-standing belief in the need to transform how UK decision-making works.

Involve and our project partner, Leaders Unlocked, are looking for four local areas in England, Wales or Scotland to participate in our project on youth mental health, MH:2K.

Why get involved?

MH:2K aims to provide decision-makers with vital information about how to improve local mental health prevention, support and services. It works by connecting decision-makers with local young people, particularly those at risk. These young people have a unique and vital perspective on their mental health – the challenges they face, information they need, and what is and isn’t working for them. From them, decision-makers can gain a deeper understanding of the key mental health issues in their area and important new insights about effective solutions.

Mental health conditions currently affect about 1 in 10 young people. 75% of mental health problems in adult life (excluding dementia) start by the age of 18.

What does MH:2K entail?

In each local area, MH:2K involves five stages of work:

  • Recruitment: Working closely with local partners, we recruit a team of proactive young people as ‘Citizen Researchers’. This group brings together a diverse cross-section of the youth population, including those with direct experience of mental health issues and individuals from at risk groups.
  • Design Days: We support the Citizen Researchers to explore key national and local information about youth mental health. The Researchers determine which mental health issues are most significant for their area. They receive training in research, event design, facilitation and public speaking.
  • Roadshow: The Citizen Researchers co-design and deliver workshops to engage a much wider number of young people on the priority topics. The workshops stimulate informal learning and gather young people’s views on what’s working, what’s not, and potential solutions.
  • Results Day: The Citizen Researchers co-analyse the Roadshow data and extract key findings. The Researchers work with local decision-makers to develop strong, practical recommendations for change.
  • Big Showcase: The Citizen Researchers present their findings and recommendations to key local stakeholders at a media-friendly event. The Showcase includes facilitated conversations about next steps. The project results are fed back to all the young people who took part.

An Expert Panel of key local decision-makers and stakeholders informs the project’s work throughout its lifetime.

How do I know this will work?

MH:2K is nearing the end of a very successful pilot in Oldham, supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award, Oldham Council and Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group

What should I do if I’m interested?

We are looking for four more areas to work with from September 2017. If you think you might be interested, find out more about the project, the Oldham pilot, and how to get involved, or contact sarah@involve.org.uk / 020 7336 9462. Please note, participating areas will be asked to make a financial contribution, but they will not need to cover the full project cost.

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