SPFT Youth PPI Café: A framework for the meaningful involvement of young people in mental health research

It is increasingly accepted that young people should be involved in mental health research that affects them. However, there are few meaningful frameworks or toolkits that exist for involvement with young people. Existing guidelines for researchers have traditionally focused on increasing benefits for the researcher and view positive outcomes to young people as by-products rather than a central aim. Furthermore, there is a general lack of understanding from researchers about how to meaningfully involve young people with lived experience of mental health difficulties in research, resulting in poor experiences for both parties.

This webinar, part of the International PPI Network: Learning Live webinar series, introduced a new framework for meaningful involvement, designed and developed by young people for young people. It covered the core principles of this framework, its development process, and provided insights into the successes and challenges encountered during its implementation in both university and National Health Service settings in the UK, both in-person and online.

The session was aimed at all interested people (i.e. people with lived experience, researchers and clinicians working with young people, as well as people with an interest in involving young people in research).

The webinar was delivered in August 2023 and below you will find the videos from the webinar, together with accompanying slides to download [PDF].

Part 1: Presentation
Part 2: Questions and answers

Presenter bios

Abigail Thomson - Abigail is an ESRC funded PhD student based at Queen Mary, University of London, and a PPI consultant supporting researchers across a range of settings and institutions to engage in meaningful involvement with young people. Abigail worked with young people to develop this framework as the lead co-ordinator for the Youth PPI Café from 2019-2022. Abigail is currently the PI of the AMPLIFY project (A Meaningful Peer-Led Involvement space For Young People), which works to co-adapt this framework to engage young people from East London in mental health research.

Julia Hickson - Julia is a current final year undergraduate student at the University of Warwick, and has been the PPI
co-ordinator for our Sussex Based Youth Cafe from 2022-2023. Julia is currently organising and promoting Café activities and further developing the Café framework.

Sam Robertson - Sam leads on a number of lived experience related peer roles in Sussex Partnership Foundation

  • Patient and Public (PPI) in R&D Lead
  • Youth PPI Café Lead
  • AIR (Approaches to Involvement and Recovery) Research Theme Lead
  • Peer Research Fellow (Research Interest and expertise - Peer Worker Emotional Labour, Qualitative, Participatory Action Research, Autoethnography and Reflexive Thematic Analysis of data from focus groups).


Part 1: Presentation

Part 2: Questions and answers

Additional materials

Download the slides from the webinar [PDF].