MH:2K Oldham: A youth-led approach to exploring mental health
Mental health conditions affect about 1 in 10 children and young people, with 75% of mental health problems in adult life, excluding dementia, starting before age eighteen. Given this, it is perhaps unsurprising that young people consistently identify mental health as a priority issue.
MH:2K seeks to give young people a role in solving this most important of challenges. Focussing on those with mental health issues and from at-risk groups, it empowers young people to shape decision-makers’ understanding of both the mental health challenges they face and what solutions could look like.
MH:2K is a powerful new model for engaging young people in conversations about mental health in their local area. It empowers 14-25 year olds to:
• Identify the mental health issues that they see as most important;
• Engage their peers in discussing and exploring these topics;
• Work with key local decision-makers and researchers to make recommendations for change.
Its design builds on good engagement practice from within and beyond the youth mental health field. Specifically MH:2K features:
• End-to-end youth leadership: MH:2K’s youth-led approach means it is grounded in the reality of young people’s lives. Young people decide its focus, co-lead its events, and determine its findings and recommendations.
• Peer-to-peer engagement: By empowering young people to reach out to their peers, MH:2K creates a safe and engaging space for participants.
• Close collaboration with key decision-makers and researchers: By involving key figures in the project from its start, MH:2K builds trust, enthusiasm and commitment for MH:2K, and the implementation of its recommendations.
MH:2K’s six-part design is intended to be transferable. It could work in any UK local area.