• Laura Wallis

‘Exploring the links between ‘Debating Mental Health’ and the research sector’

Youth mental health is high on the current political agenda and seems to be the topic on everyone’s lips at the moment. It’s being discussed in schools, charities, youth groups and across the political spectrum and while discussion is an important element in affecting change, we have reached a juncture, where discussion alone cannot be enough. We need action, investment and solutions.

A key sector that can drive solutions is the research sector. Under the current climate, investment into what causes and may prevent or alleviate youth mental illness is a key priority, but the research sector knows that, to be effective, it must work with a range of stakeholders to ensure that its work is translated into policy and practice. It often takes years for research to be translated into implementable policy and practice and this “implementation gap” is where we come in. In a recent Twitter poll, 75% of respondents agreed that Debating Mental Health could best partner with the research sector on the implementation gap. Our work training and supporting young people to speak out on what matters to them in mental health means that we are well placed to work researchers to ensure that young people are involved in the development of research questions and priorities and in turning research into real-life solutions.

The TRIUMPH Network recognises this and invited us to join their London agenda-setting workshop, where professionals across children and young people’s mental health policy, research and practice came together to scope their priorities and challenges when taking a public health approach to youth mental health.

Debating Mental Health was invited to participate in the conversation and three of our Young Leaders were asked to address delegates, highlighting their own priorities and challenges for children and young people’s mental health. Kirsty, Naz and Rebekah, who have each been working with Debating Mental Health for a number of years led delegates in a taster Debating Mental Health style game and got them talking about topics around schools and CAMHS. They then worked with delegates throughout the day, sharing their thoughts and priorities and holding them accountable to their promises to involve children and young people in the decision making processes of their organisations.

We believe that young people must be involved in the research about their mental health needs and possible solutions and we’re confident that we can continue to form strong relationships across the sector, to ensure that young people are placed front and centre when it comes to driving change.

Triumph Network

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