The TRIUMPH Network’s mission is to bring together young people with academics, health practitioners, and policy-makers to find new ways to improve youth public mental health and wellbeing, especially among those where need is greatest.
It is not a coincidence that young people are the first group mentioned in that list. Young people are at the heart of the TRIUMPH Network, not just in terms of our research topics but also in the ways that we do research, demonstrated by our core approaches of co-production and co-design.
What does that mean in practice?
TRIUMPH has a Research Associate (me!) whose focus is entirely upon making sure that young people are involved in TRIUMPH decision-making processes and activities.
We are currently recruiting a Youth Advisory Group (YAG) who will work closely with the TRIUMPH Network Management Group to make decisions about our priorities and focus. The YAG will be made up of 16 young people (aged 16-24) recruited from our partner organisations in each of the 4 UK nations. The YAG will come together for the first time and meet with the NMG at the end of June. Young advisors are co-producers of the network and their time will be compensated, just as adult advisors would be paid for their involvement.
A key task for the YAG will be to think about how other young people can get involved in TRIUMPH. While a youth advisory group is a great start, it is a formal mechanism that engages only a small number of young people who can offer a high level of commitment and skills. TRIUMPH offers an opportunity to explore multiple innovative and creative approaches to involving different groups of young people in conversations about, and initiatives to improve, youth public mental health and wellbeing. Some possible ideas so far have included:
- An interactive section of the website for young people to interact with ongoing research and interventions
- Young people focused events
- Young people training adults and contributing to adult focused events
- Dialogue events where young people and adults play equal roles
- A TRIUMPH playlist of songs that make us feel good
- Art and/or music based projects looking at mental health and wellbeing
- Young people involved in co-designing and assessing proposals for funding
- Blogs and vlogs and live broadcasts on different topics related to youth public mental health
- Young people co-producing their own research or interventions to address youth public mental health
These ideas have predominantly come from adults and we want YAG members to be involved in developing them. So, although it is tempting to jump right in and start getting our hands dirty, we are going to wait until the YAG are on board.
As a transdisciplinary staff team TRIUMPH bring together expertise in youth public mental health, creative social innovation and young people’s participation. Health practitioners and policy-makers have the expertise in using evidence in practice. YAG members contribute their own expertise of being young people in today’s society. Together we make up TRIUMPH.
Just by reading this blog, you are a part of TRIUMPH too! If you have any ideas about how TRIUMPH could involve young people in its work, or you would like to discuss anything in this blog please contact: Christina.McMellon@glasgow.ac.uk