Engaging young people in mental health research addressing stigma

Sharpe, Thomas and Murray, Molly and Taylor, Rachel and Corrigan, Patrick and Cogan, Nicola (2022) Engaging young people in mental health research addressing stigma. Education Today. ISSN 0013-1547 (https://www.educationtoday.com.au/news-detail/Enga...)

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Involving children and young people as collaborators in youth mental health research is becoming more widely valued and recognised as essential to ensuring that research is relevant and responsive to their needs. Young people are often eager and capable of being involved in all stages of the research process yet little information is available on best practice for their involvement in mental health research. This is particularly true for younger children who have tended to be more the subject of research rather than active participants or partners in research. How researchers engage with children and young people in mental health research is related to how confident and competent they feel in engaging with young people. Whether researchers engage young people in research can also be impacted by the availability of resources, ethical issues, culture and the structures that their organisations have in place to support youth participation in research. This can be further complicated when considering research on mental illness self-stigma as by virtue this may serve as a barrier to young people feeling confident and willing to engage in research that effectively seeks to understand their lived experiences. So how might such potential challenges and barriers to youth participation in such research be overcome? One possible approach is to adopt participatory methods that include children and young people in the research process, from planning and developing research questions to disseminating the research findings.