Evidence Based Practice Unit


What would a mentally healthy area look like?

15 November 2018

Youth-led recommendations on mental health and wellbeing launched in Parliament


Young people presented a compelling picture of what mentally healthy areas would look like on Tuesday evening, along with a call for national attention and action.

The launch event, attended by Miranda, Charlotte and Shauna from EBPU, was the culmination of a project by MH2K, a powerful new model funded by the Wellcome Trust for engaging young Citizen Researchers in conversations about mental health in their local area. Following a speech by Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, a group of the Citizen Researchers presented their final set of recommendations to a large audience, and hosted a Q&A.

The recommendations are grouped into six key areas: communities; schools, colleges and universities; professionals; social media; families; and mental health services. They include powerful points such as:

Schools point 3: Raise awareness of mental health services and resources available both inside and outside of the institution. Young people want schools, colleges and universities to distribute information about mental health services and resources to all students. This information should be clear and simple. It should be provided discreetly (e.g. through email bulletins and posters on the back of toilet doors) and publicly (e.g. in assemblies and on noticeboards). Awareness raising within primary schools should include resources for children to take home to their parents. Young people also want schools to hold an annual ‘Mental Health Awareness Day’.
Mental Health Services point 6: Use spaces where young people feel comfortable. Young people want treatment and consultation to happen in spaces where they feel comfortable. These include safe yet familiar settings such as community and youth centres. Young people are less comfortable in clinical or hospitalised spaces.

To reach the final set of recommendations, a diverse group of 27 Citizen Researchers aged 14-25 based in five areas of England ran consultation events with over 3,400 peers. Miranda Wolpert, Director of EBPU, said:

“I was deeply impressed by the work of this group. It struck me as a model of citizen research with really important recommendations. Everyone who works in youth mental health should read this report and mark themselves against it.

More information and the full set of recommendations can be found here: