Youth co-design in mental health research
Maren McLean Andvik
Year of study:
The InvolveMENT research project started in 2017 to strengthen mental health services for adolescents.
It was initiated by a researcher and shortly after two adolescents joined as representatives, followed by myself and seven others. We were later renamed Co-researchers due to our active participation. The project is run by SHARE - Centre for Resilience in Healthcare, University of Stavanger, Norway.
Involving adolescents in mental health research follows the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child stating that “(children) should be the primary consideration in making decisions about the child.” All those of us in the project acknowledged the importance of improving youth mental health services and each of us has a personal understanding of mental health services. We have contributed to planning, developing and running the project, as well as publication of results.
The project's research used both qualitative and quantitative methods to better understand adolescents’ experiences with and perspectives on mental health services.
We have presented our results at national and international conferences on mental health.
As part of the project, we organised a mental health stigma seminar for 400 adolescents in September 2019. Through the seminar, the participants shared their views through discussions and an online survey carried out throughout the entire day. We are currently analysing and writing up results for publication in a scientific journal. This includes new knowledge on barriers and facilitators of adolescents’ use of mental health services and involvement of youth in research.