Improving Physical and Mental Health and Care for Young People – by Eleanor

By Louca-Mai Brady,

Our July meeting was on Zoom again.

We started off the meeting by doing an icebreaker game where we were put in different breakout rooms and had to find 3 things that we had in common and 3 differences. This was quite a fun way of learning more about each other. We ended up finding many things we have in common including that we all liked pizza 🍕, and some things we don’t!

Then Bryony introduced herself. She is from the  Applied Research Collaboration East of England (ARC EoE), which is an organisation that works with people who provide health and care services such as hospitals and doctors,  and people who use these services, including children and young people .  The ARC works with these people and researchers at universities to try and improve health and care in the area for children and young people and for everyone.

Bryony asked us some questions, which we went into breakout rooms to discuss:

  • What do you think we should be researching to help make physical and mental health and care better for children and young people in the East of England?
  • How could we help children and young people to get involved in research (e.g. training, support, working with HertsYPAG and other groups)?
  • How can we help lots of different children and young people get involved in research (including those who might not be able to be involved in a YPAG)? 
  • What would help children, young people and families find, understand and use research findings?

We came up with lots of great ideas, including different ways to use social media to encourage young people to get involved in research, presenting research findings in ways that are accessible and easy to understand (not using jargon), and doing more research into things such as how food and physical activity is linked to young people’s mental health.

I found it very interesting talking about how we can make physical and mental health care better for children and young people. I think this is very important research as almost all young people have experienced going into a healthcare setting at some point in their life. It was also important to think about how they could encourage children with different experiences and backgrounds to be involved in research, so that researchers hear opinions from a range of children and young people.

Bryony said:

“I’m really pleased I was able to attend the Herts YPAG and talk with them about the Applied Research Collaboration and how we could involve children and young people in research. I heard about what was important for them when it comes to health, in particular, mental health was a big important topic, as was social media and the impact on mental health. The Herts YPAG views will feed into our wider discussion with people across East Anglia, but they have provided a very helpful and unique perspective from young people. Thank you!”

At the end of the meeting, we said goodbye to Elena 😢, who is leaving YPAG to start her PhD in Norway. We wish her the best of luck for her future studies and we have really enjoyed working with her in our YPAG! 😊


It was an enjoyable and interesting session, and it is great to be part of YPAG helping with research that is happening to improve the lives of young people.

We are stopping over the summer holidays, so our next meeting will be at the university in September.