National Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group

The first National Young People’s Mental Health Advisory Group was established in January 2014 by the Clinical Research Network: Mental Health.

The Group is made up of fourteen 16-24 year olds, all with experience of mental health issues or having supported someone who has. Members come from across England and have a wide range of experiences and interests. Meetings are held once every six weeks in London.

The Group invites two researchers or research teams to each of its meetings in order to discuss specific studies and provide advice and support.

Young Persons Mental Health Group

For further information or if you would like to gain feedback on your study from the group please contact Sara Simblett on 020 7848 0762 or

The objectives of the Group are to:

  • Act as the main point of contact for researchers seeking PPI on studies relating to young people.
  • Raise the profile of research in to young people’s mental health.
  • Promote the young service user/carer perspective in mental health research and the work of the CRN: Mental Health.
  • Identify and share good practice in service user and carer involvement.
  • Produce and review pieces of work that benefit the CRN: Mental Health and    the wider NIHR.
  • Construct innovative ideas and initiatives that involve young service users and carers.
  • Collaborate with the wider NIHR family and charities on specific projects.

The Group is also connected to a number of projects such as the ‘Depression: Asking the right questions’, a priority setting exercise supported by the charity MQ Transforming Mental Health. As well as a Department of Health initiative to collect up to date national statistics on the prevalence of mental health issues amongst young people in the UK.

Our experiences of working with the YPAG

Some of our members have written case studies of their experiences of working with the Group.  Each of these documents can be viewed as a PDF.

Sarah Ward

“I’ve had personal experiences of mental health myself as well as seeing my friends and family go through similar situations. It’s really important to recognise it more. I don’t think it’s as recognised as much as physical health. There needs to be changes made with the mental health system and I’m very keen to push this forward and be a part of that.”

Susannah Page

“Being part of the Young Peoples Advisory Group has definitely made me more aware of different mental health issues and how these can be dealt with. But it’s more than that I feel like it’s enabled me to develop personally and I’m much more confident now. I couldn’t believe how much more work there really needs to be done to make mental health research and services more effective.”

“My family have definitely seen that being part of this group and our activities has changed me in a very positive way. And I’m very passionate about it all now. My interest in mental health research just keeps growing and growing.”

Will Stringer

“I chose to get involved because I’m currently training to become a mental health nurse, so I’ve always had a keen interest in the subject. Also some of my family
members have suffered from mental health illnesses in the past so I have personal experience of what that’s like and how difficult a situation it can be.”

Emma Wilson

“One of the key activities for the group is to talk to researchers about their proposals when doing different types of research into various types of mental health illnesses. We give them feedback about what we think of their proposal and whether it’s done in a youth friendly manner, so that it’s easier for young people to understand.”

“I’ve learned of the complexities surrounding research methodology and been involved with the early stages of some exciting new research proposals.”

Gemma Ellis

“I’ve found being a part of the young person’s group to be really interesting and I’ve learnt a lot about mental health. I’ve enjoyed feeding into the research process and hearing about new research projects.

“I also enjoy being in a non-judgemental environment where other people completely understand your  situation or feelings without having to be told..”

Katie B

“It is quite empowering to be put in a position where researchers listen to you and to use your own experiences to be part of something that will benefit young people in the future.

“The group has opened my eyes to the opportunities out there to get involved in research. Mental health is a part of my life and it is reassuring to know that
there are places that allow me to use my experiences to help others.”



Success stories

Emma's story in a newspaper

  • Meeting Dame Sally Davis in April 2014.  Helping with DoH prevalence study mentioned above
  • Supporting the MQ: Transforming Mental Health research priority setting for depression exercise
  • Displaying a poster at the INVOLVE conference
  • Speaking at CRN: Mental Health Best Practice event
  • Supporting Generation-R with the Testing Treatments website
  • Presenting at the 2015 CRN: Mental Health National Scientific Meeting
  • Receiving an award from the CRN: Mental Health Executive Committee for achievements to date

Latest from Mental Health

How should YPAGs members get a say in research funding?

Nuffield Council on Bioethics report