The NeurOx YPAG was formed to give adolescents the opportunity to get involved in decision-making about research and policy in mental health that may affect their lives. YPAG members are between 14-18 years old, meet 1-2 months, and are given the chance to learn about mental health, ethics, and the research process, interacting closely with researchers undertaking cutting-edge work in their field.
YPAG members advise and collaborate with researchers, acting as co-participants in the design and implementation of research studies; including participant recruitment, the testing and developing of interview questions, online surveys and face-to-face interviews. The group is also involved in developing educational materials and innovative, digital methodologies for research with teenagers, including apps and games.
The YPAG have consulted on several research grants within Oxford’s Department of Psychiatry and presented at the BeGOOD team’s research day. In Oct 2017, Prof. Singh and YPAG members were filmed by the BBC for an episode of Tomorrow’s World, concerning the use of artificial intelligence in mental health treatment. The group were asked to consider the pros and cons of mental health therapy apps, or ‘chatbots’, reflecting on questions such as: Would you trust a chatbot therapist? Can a chatbot provide a replacement for face-to-face mental health therapy? If you told a chatbot about your problems, how would it provide a solution?
You can see them in action here.
By engaging with young people and incorporating their voices throughout the research process, the NeurOx YPAG will help develop research projects and research tools that make research questions, processes, outputs and interventions more ethical, relevant and impactful for young people. More information about the YPAG, and their blog, is available here.