Cambridge University has joined forces with schoolchildren to enhance mental health services specifically designed for teenagers. The collaboration involves students from Northgate High School in Ipswich, who will be sharing their unique perspectives on young people’s health with researchers over a period of three years. The ultimate goal of this project is to improve the effectiveness of connecting with secondary school students in order to provide them with better mental health support.
The lead researcher, Lauren Cross, holds a special connection to this project as she herself attended Northgate High School before becoming a secondary schoolteacher in Ipswich and pursuing a PhD at the University of Cambridge. She expressed her gratitude for the valuable contributions made by the students. The “Capturing all voices” project, which is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, aims to involve the next generation of Northgate students in shaping mental health services for future young people.
Recent evidence has indicated a decline in the physical and mental health of young individuals, with one in five experiencing mental health difficulties. However, researchers are concerned that the existing evidence does not always encompass the perspectives and experiences of all young individuals. This collaboration with the Northgate students aims to address this gap by involving them as research advisers rather than mere research participants.
The students have been actively engaged in this project since 2022 and are eager to have their voices heard. They firmly believe that there are multiple factors in their lives that contribute to stress, and it is crucial to consider the broader picture rather than solely placing blame on the school environment. By sharing their personal experiences and insights, the students hope to contribute to the development of more comprehensive and effective mental health services for teenagers.
This collaboration between Cambridge University and Northgate High School showcases the importance of including the perspectives of those directly affected by mental health services in the research process. By actively involving young individuals, the project aims to ensure that their voices are heard and that their specific needs are taken into account when designing mental health support programs. Through this partnership, researchers hope to pave the way for more targeted and accessible mental health services for teenagers in the future.