Hi! My name is Praveena and I’m one of the two new Welsh members of the TRIUMPH Youth Advisory Group (YAG). I joined TRIUMPH in time for the second YAG residential in Glasgow in April, which was a long time coming after the pandemic. When I heard of this opportunity, I was eager to work closely with researchers and meet other young people – and a weekend away in Glasgow certainly sounded appealing!
Before the residential, I had never heard about TRIUMPH, and I was nervous about joining a close-knit group. I had nothing to worry about, everyone was amazing and welcoming. It was great fun learning the quirks of the group – still debating pizza toppings and the merit of sushi.
We kicked off the Friday recapping the research projects the YAG was working on. I was surprised to hear that the young people themselves were involved in running mental health workshops with young people from youth groups and universities. Using thematic analysis, we looked at patterns in the responses they collected to categorise them into broader themes. Being used to numbers and statistics, this way of working with data definitely challenged me. In the afternoon, we reviewed the idea of ‘life skills’ workshops to teach practical skills to young people in preparation for adulthood. We debated the definition of ‘becoming an adult’ and how this concept varies between individuals based on their lived experiences and personal values.
On Saturday, the YAG reflected on their TRIUMPH experiences, and got creative making timelines of their experiences with the Network over last few years. As I was a new member, I interviewed some of the others about their time in the YAG. It was insightful and moving to hear their personal experiences of the YAG and how they gained self-esteem and skills to do things they never thought they once could. Perhaps, there might be a career for me as a TV presenter?
Finally, on Sunday, we looked at what we wanted to achieve in the last months of TRIUMPH and planned future activities. Overall, it was a jam-packed residential. Highlights include the escape room which descended into mass hysteria, the treasure hunt that got us lost in a random garden, and the questionable integrity of the spaghetti-marshmallow towers. Besides, it was really cool to hear young people voicing their opinions so confidently; everyone’s perspectives were unique to their lived experiences. Glasgow itself was a stunning city, and we managed to do some sleep-deprived sightseeing on the last day.
On our way back home (at 1am!!), we were already thinking about the next residential and how we are looking forward to working on research and meeting everyone again. Seeing all the brilliant work the TRIUMPH YAG has done so far makes me proud to join this group. I’m especially excited for the National Event later this year!