IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


COPE-Well Study (CWS)

A project aiming to understand whether there are barriers to mental health access worsening Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) youth outcomes during the pandemic.

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This project hopes to provide BAME youths with basic mental health coping skills to handle life's stressors beyond the pandemic and opportunities to experience positive role models and opportunities beyond academia.

The project started in November 2021 and will end in August 2022. It is funded by UKRI Research England Higher Education Innovation Fund.


Project leaders

This project has been carried out with the collaboration of the following Psychology with Education BSc students:

  • Ella Boutros
  • Romane Lenoir
  • Jaimie Leung
  • Eoin Mulholland.

North Acton (West London) is amongst the nation’s top 20% most deprived neighbourhoods with 49.3% of its residents classified as BAME.

BAME groups have traditionally been underserved and have been found to be disproportionately affected by the COVID19 pandemic including health disparity, racism, and health access (Razal et al., 2021).

This project combines Keri's (PI) expertise in youth mental health and experience as PI of the UCL-Penn Global COVID Study and Jamal Edwards Delves' (JED) mission to improve young people's life chances to co-create mental health life-skill workshops with BAME youths (12-15 years old) in West London.

  1. Co-develop a set of 5 bespoke, expert-/student-led workshops and experiential creative activities to address young people’s needs as voiced in A1. Potential workshops/talks include: a) social trust and relationships b) recognising and coping with your own mental health c) symptoms of anxiety/depression d) learning about university life e) focusing on the ‘Now’ through art. 
  2. Assess which activities were most impactful for young people in the short- and longer-term (e.g., measured by mental wellbeing change scores, skills/insights gained, change in perspectives pre-/post-event) and how project outcomes can be translated into sustained impact in policy, practice, and research. 
  3. The overarching project aim is to identify, co-create, and assess which wellbeing life-skill workshops with BAME youths may have immediate and longer-term impacts on youth's life trajectories as we continue to recover from the pandemic. 
    Research questions

    This project aims to understand whether there are barriers to mental health access that are worsening BAME youth outcomes during the pandemic. To answer this, we will conduct small consultative focus groups and/or 1-on-1 interviews on:

    • What psychological needs and support do BAME youths want?
    • What health needs have been further exacerbated that can be addressed now? 

    Data collection

    Various quantitative and qualitative data will be collected throughout the 12-month project duration, specifically at three time-points.

    • 1-on-1 interviews and/or small consultative focus groups will be conducted individually or with six groups of 4-5 young people to understand the impact of COVID-19 on young people’s lives, barriers/access to mental health support, and to identify specific psychological support they would need now. The PI will be conducting these 1-on-1 interviews/focus groups with the help of DBS-checked student research assistants and JED social workers present.
    • Baseline measures of mental health using standardised questionnaires (e.g., Emotional and behavioural difficulties [Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire]; Depression [Patient health Questionnaire PHQ-9]; Anxiety [Generalized Anxiety Disorder GAD-7); Loneliness [UCLA -20]; Social trust [Social Mistrust Scale]) will be administered online through Qualtrics via a tablet, or paper-pencil booklets as back-up should the internet fail.


    The participants are recruited from a convenience sample of young people aged 12-18 years-old (N = 30~) who currently regularly attend workshops/activities hosted by the JED charity at community centres in Acton.

    Pre-/Post-activity assessment

    • Before and after each of the five workshops organised for young people, they will be asked to complete a brief 5-minute questionnaire (closed/open-ended questions) to measure short-term changes in their mental wellbeing, and to obtain feedback on their activity.
    • End of project feedback: a final set of participant feedback will be obtained once all five workshops have been concluded.
    • Additional feedback from project staff, JED staff, and research assistants will also contribute to understanding the pros/cons of the project activities and impact in order to inform future youth workshops for this population.


    • All quantitative data will be reported in terms of group averages rather than individual data points.
    • Qualitative quotes from interviews/focus groups and surveys will be pseudonymised for presentations in reports, presentations, and subsequent marketing materials, always ensuring that the quotes cannot be traced back to the project participant.
    • In all cases where quotes will be shared via video/audio formats, participant consent and the consent of their guardian (as these young people are underage) will be sought prior to any publication. Ethics: REC 1558, Approval date: 22 October 2021.