Young people’s anti-stigma campaign

1.     What was this research?

We evaluated the impact of the Time to Change  children and young people’s programme, completing the study March 2015. Working in one focused site and several outreach areas we liaised with schools to ensure that lessons from this programme were learnt. Did young people’s mental health related knowledge, attitudes and behaviour change? What was the impact of Time to Change children and young people programme on teachers? Using survey research methods, interviews and an online record we sought to answer these questions to ensure future campaigns could use resources to best target stigma based on a strong evidence base of “what works” to tackle youth mental health discrimination and stigma.

2.     Why was this research important?

10% of children and young people have mental health problems and roughly half of all mental health problems start by the mid-teens. Nearly 90% of those with mental health problems also experience discrimination and stigma which can lead to more severe problems, social isolation and reduced help-seeking. The children and young people’s Time to Change programme aimed to improve attitudes from an early age so that young people with mental health problems were more able to receive the support and understanding that they needed. We wanted to know if the approaches they adopted were successful and what else needed to change to reach a “tipping point” in how mental health problems are viewed and responded to across society.

3.     What did we do?

We observed changes over time in knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to understand whether Time to Change was having a positive impact in schools.

1)    We conducted a baseline survey in schools with young people aged 13 – 15 years to measure mental health related attitudes, knowledge and behaviour. We ran the survey three times in total to measure changes over time: once when Time to Change has finished their intervention and again a few months later. We recruited “control” schools as well so we could look at changes for young people where no Time to Change activities took place as well as where they did.

2)    We conducted qualitative interviews with a number of young people to find out more about their experiences of mental health and mental health stigma. We spoke to individuals that did have experience of mental health problems and those that did not. This group of young people were also asked to complete an online record to give us month by month accounts of the changes they observed happening within their school.

3)    We asked the teachers to complete a version of our survey and a small group took part in qualitative interviews and provided online records.

4)    As part of the programme, Time to Change were delivering training to those that worked with young people in schools. We conducted a feedback survey with all participants as well as observing how some of the participants used this training in future work by attending their sessions. At the end of the project, we ran a focus group with some of the stakeholders.

We have a panel of Young Advisors who helped us to design tools, think through our methods and interpret findings.

4.     What is the current status of the project?

We have completed the study and provided  reports to Time to Change. They included some data from our study in a summary report. We have not written up a summary of the findings or disseminated results more widely yet, but are working on outputs which will be available in 2016.

5.     What next?

We plan to disseminate the findings from this work to share lessons learnt.

6.     Who do I contact for more information?

If you would like more information about the study please do get in touch