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Mental Health Research Group


Youth Speak; on mental health research

Youth Speak is an enhanced Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) group focusing on youth mental health research. Membership is open to anyone aged between the ages of 14-24 years old with an interest in mental health. Meetings occur on a monthly basis in Durham City but between meeting we keep in touch using social media: @YouthSpeakMH or visit our website:

Our Aims

Youth Speak has three primary objectives:

  • · Giving young people a voice and skills in mental health research;
  • · Reducing mental health stigma for young people through research and action;
  • · Shaping research to influence mental health services for young people.

Some of our achievements to date

Since we began in October 2013, with the support of a Wolfson small grant, we have done some amazing work including:

  • Supporting the development of a €6 million European Union grant (GROWING) submitted by Helen Stain and Lauren Mawn. This longitudinal study hopes to examine ….
  • Designing and delivering a workshop at the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust Research Conference, 2014 to foster participation and engagement. Members also designed and led exercises challenging prejudices around young people and managed small group discussions highlighting important principles of youth engagement.We also won the poster competition.
  • Supporting Charlotte Kitchen, a PhD student at Durham University researching treatment for depression. To date Youth Speak members have informed the name and logo of the proposed study as well as supporting information leaflets.
  • Attendance and presentation by some of our members at a self-harm conference hosted by Investing in Children.

What our members say

“Youth Speak has allowed me to share my experiences of mental health with others and bring in experiences from other groups I am involved in. I have been able to share and communicate with friends and other agencies to offer the best to the group. I was able to get involved in a conference and really learn more about mental health research”

“Being involved in the group is really enjoyable. We achieve alot together, new opportunities are always available in which we otherwise wouldn’t”

“Youth Speak has really stuck by me through thick and thin. It is like a family, they really go the extra mile. I have been involved in Youth Speak from the beginning and the journey and effects it has had on me has really proved to me that life is worth living for. They have allowed me to be myself and really be the person I want to be. I have taken on many roles like planning surprises, blogging, minute taking, charing and communicating between members. Without youth speak I would not be able to share and improve on my skills within young people’s mental health. I love every opportunity and look forward to the future. I want to take this time to thank every member and staff who has been with me from the beginning. Youth Speak is where I belong and the support has been amazing, I have really felt something for this group. I know it is where I belong and it is my passion to expand my role within youth speak”

Want to know more or become a member?

Please contact Dr Helen Stain (