GOSH YPAG Annual Visit to University College London (UCL) Division of Psychiatry – 14 February 2024

By London YPAG,

Hello from the organisers!

Each year we invite GOSH YPAG members to contribute to a lecture for the ‘Current Research in Children and Young People’s Mental Health module’ of the UCL MSc in Mental Health Sciences. The students are asked to prepare an information sheet and consent form for a research project. In small groups, they are then given feedback from GOSH YPAG members about how easy the documents are to understand, what the positives are and what they could do to improve them.

This session was a lively and energetic one with lots of discussion. It is incredibly helpful for the students as it gives them a chance to get real feedback about their work. It also helps them to understand the value and importance of co-production and getting feedback from others throughout the research process.

We had excellent feedback from the students about how helpful they found the session. This is what one student told us:

“Although it hasn’t been very long since I was around their age, hearing feedback from the young people in this session was extremely eye-opening. They brought up so many points that I’d have otherwise overlooked. This made me realise how easy it can be for my own perspective and understanding to colour what I believe someone else may think or feel”

“Overall, this session made it even more clear to me how important Patient and Public Involvement is. There are limits to how accurately we can anticipate stakeholder perspectives as researchers, and this shortcoming must be supplemented by direct input from the people impacted by the study.”

Thanks again to all the young people who attended this session, and to all of those at GOSH who facilitate this.

Oceiah  – what I thought of the day

This year six GOSH YPAG members attended the lecture and workshop. The topic was “Gender Differences and Cognitive Biases in Adolescent Depression.” Interestingly, this topic is being conducted by a PhD student who attended the MSc course in 2016-17. This just goes to show how fascinating the MSc course is, and that it opens many doors. Especially as mental health can still be viewed as a taboo topic.

Now let’s move onto what the day entailed. GOSH YPAG members moved around different groups commenting on how students could improve their consent forms, and information sheets. It was impressive to see all the different ideas, and approaches to the topic. Thank you GOSH YPAG members.

What we advised- things to remember for your consent forms and information sheets

  • How long the task(s) will last.
  • Succinct paragraphs.
  • Use graphology where relevant.
  • Make subheadings in bold.
  • Have a word glossary at the end of the information sheets for complicated terminology.
  • Include websites/contact details for further mental health support on the information sheet. For example Relax Kids and Young Minds.
  • Remember to include, “If you do not wish to take part anymore, no none will mind, just let us know.” and “You don’t have to say why.”
  • Make it very clear that the participants data will be kept safe (GDPR).
  • Mention gatekeeper consent, when relevant.

One of my favourite topics over the eight years has been, “Social Approval and Disproval in teenagers, particularly focussing on girls.” This is because, I felt it really linked with how popular culture is more pressurising now, and how mental health research is progressing.

Thank you to  Sarah, for teaming up with GOSH YPAG for this unique opportunity to take part in UCL’s MSc, whilst supporting your post graduate students in their studies. These workshops have given me valuable skills that have enhanced my academia.

I highly recommend YPAG members interested in Psychology, and/or University research to take part in these workshops; they have been my annual highlight since 2017.

All the best for the continuing partnership between UCL and YPAG’s.


 Calista’s take on the day

In February 2024, members of GOSH YPAG – myself and my sister included- travelled to UCL to work with numerous groups of MSc students who were designing information sheets and consent forms for a given study: Gender Differences and Cognitive Bias in Adolescent Depression. In particular, the study’s aim was to see how girls and boys are impacted differently by social approval and disapproval in what would generally be a school setting.

There were groups of MSc students who had worked together. GOSH YPAG members circulated some of the groups so each group got different perspectives. Each GOSH YPAG member would join a group, read the information sheets and consent forms of the study, ask questions, give feedback on the display of information itself and what would encourage or discourage the audience of the study from participating.

It was an excellent opportunity to meet college students and other YPAG members in person. We also got to see how studies are developed by people who are keen on going into their future career with those skills. It was also really interesting to see our feedback helping in real-time.

After the MSc students left, lunch was kindly provided for us.

It was a great day and mine and my sister’s first time attending and we can’t wait for next year!