#Mesearch - Young people bring mental health research to Brixton

On Saturday 13 February 2016, the national Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group hosted an event at Pop Brixton aimed at getting young people and their families and carers involved in research, especially into mental health and wellbeing.

  mesearch journeys into research

There isn’t nearly enough scientific evidence about how best to help young people with mental health problems, and in many cases it’s not clear how treatments and therapies can be adapted to suit young people. More scientific research is needed to identify the best ways of helping people with mental health problems, and the Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group is working to improve awareness of the issues around mental health and to encourage more young people to take part in research. 

The event was entirely planned and organised by the group, and as well as informing people about mental health research and how to participate, it gave attendees a chance to meet and interact with young people who’ve experienced mental ill health, and to explore some of the issues they face in a positive, fun, community setting.  

mesearch panel of young people

After the event’s official opening by Professor Dame Til Wykes, group members Emma and Susannah interviewed leading journalist Claudia Hammond, host of BBC Radio 4’s ‘All in the Mind’.  Claudia welcomed the fact that so many more people are now speaking out about their mental health and recovery, and suggested that with research budgets limited, the transition between young people and adults mental health services should be a key focus. 

Group members then gave a presentation to attendees on what mental health research involves, accompanied by an eye-opening quiz highlighting some common misconceptions about mental health and research.  They explained how research works in a ‘real-world setting’, and emphasised that young peoples’ involvement in mental health research increases the chances that it succeeds in providing new and better treatments in future. 

After lunch, which included an open mic session, actor Danny-Boy Hatchard (who plays Lee Carter in British soap Eastenders, a character who has struggled with mental health issues), and poet Hussain Manawer, winner of the One Young World Rising Star award, joined the event. 

  mesearch presenting

Both Danny-Boy and Hussain have spoken publically about the need for better awareness and understanding of mental health issues, and their talk to the event emphasised the importance of creative expression in improving mental health, and suggested that schools should be playing an increased role in improving awareness of mental health issues among young people. 

For the rest of the afternoon, the group gave a presentation on their work and how they advise researchers, followed by an interactive talk from researcher Stefano Belli in the ROAMER (Roadmap for Mental Health Research in Europe) project.  

mesearch presenting

Throughout the afternoon, people attending the event were invited to take a journey through research, visiting stalls from the group, mental health charity MQ, and providing an informal opportunity for visitors to ask questions and find out more. 

Despite the very cold and wet weather, the event was almost full, and the response was unanimously positive.  The group will continue to spread the word about research, and plan other activities later this year. 

If you would like to find out more about the Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group, please contact Lisa Doughty at lisa.doughty@kcl.ac.uk.

All photographs courtesy of Charles Henderson Photography.

Tags: Patient and Carer Involvement and Engagement -

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 20 Feb 2016, 16:37 PM

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