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 eighteen1. 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 and emotional
wellbeing 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
• 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
• 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.
Community Gateway supported the project, along with South Ribble Borough Council, Chorley Council, Preston City Council, the Clinical Commissioning Groups,
and the Wellcome Trust.
Copies of the reports can be found below