How to involve young people as collaborators in psychotherapy research – #mentalreport

On 23rd June, some of our volunteer activists joined the Young Champions from the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families at a focus group developing the ‘How to involve young people in psychotherapy research’ guidelines.

Inga and Paulina, were 2 of the EYMH activists in attendance, and share their experiences of it below…

It is a Tuesday afternoon in Germany. It is summer, the sun is shining through the window and we are both sitting in our rooms with the laptops in front of us. We know each other for a while, became friends at university and share experiences and interests. With our personal and educational background in psychology, we are supporting EYMH as experts by experiences.

Today we are taking part in a research focus group organised by between Euro Youth Mental Health and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, based in London. They invited us to share our thoughts and comments on the question of how to involve young people as collaborators in psychotherapy research. With a group of around 8 young experts by experience and 2 staff (psychotherapist & researchers), we discuss the primary version of Guidelines that are meant to lead future research. We both think that involving young people in research and conducting this across Europe could have a great impact and could help to improve mental health services and to adjust them to the actual needs of young people.

Therefore we are really glad for having the opportunity to actively contribute to the guidelines and push them further. It feels amazing to meet people from so different backgrounds that all share the same vision of giving young people space where their voices are heard and where their stories can be told. We enjoy the working atmosphere which is characterised by respect and openness towards everything that is shared (also very personal experiences) and we already feel listened to.

In the end the meeting went by very quickly but the topic stayed in our minds and we are really curious and looking forward to seeing the final version of guidelines!

One barrier that we see in creating and then actually implementing these guidelines could be in finding one baseline for all the differences in the mental health services across Europe and the way people experience and speak about mental health. But we think that this way of connecting and listening to each other, that we experienced in this meeting, can be a good help to manage these barriers.

If you are a young person and wish to help us change the narrative for young people with mental health problems, then CHECK OUT OUR VOLUNTEER PAGE to see how you can get involved.

This focus group was a collaboration between:

Published by Euro Youth Mental Health

I'm a champion for youth mental health - Co-Director of Euro Youth Mental Health - Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor - Mental Health Participation Expert - Facilitator & Podcaster - Youth Wellbeing giver.

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