Supporting young people who work with us

Young people who get involved with us generally report finding the experience beneficial end enjoy the opportunity to directly shape mental health research. However, the work that we do often involves the discussion of sensitive and challenging topics. While McPin are not a mental health support group, we do have provisions in place and safeguarding training to ensure that we prioritise the wellbeing of the young people that we work with.  

1. Identifying individual needs

Because everyone has different preferences, we think it is important to actively involve the young person in putting a safety plan in place. When they first join us, we ask if they have other mental health support currently. This could be as informal as talking to a friend, a relative, or accessing therapy. This information helps us to know what options are available if they have a difficult experience during one of our meetings.

We will also work with the young person to find out what support we can directly offer. If someone has a particular request (for example, perhaps they find a particular mental health topic difficult), we will offer to discuss the different options available to them (e.g as listed under the ‘during meetings’ section). We will offer an individual telephone or zoom call to do this.

2. During meetings

 In addition to our ground rules, some of the steps that we take to help keep young people safe are listed below:

  • We request to see everyone on camera at the beginning of the meeting and once we have seen everyone, the chair will give attendees permission to switch them off if they wish
  • Giving people advance notice of what will be discussed in meetings, including relevant trigger warnings
  • Ensuring that the primary focus of discussion is the research study itself, rather than people’s personal experiences 
  • Offering a debrief after meetings
  • Have two members of staff attend each meeting – so one member of staff is always available to support people individually in case of any issues
  • Seek feedback after each meeting  

3. In between meetings

For the work that we do with young people outside of meetings – such as opportunities sent to the network by email or through digital platforms like slack and basecamp – we take the following steps to ensure their safety:

  • We discourage private messaging between young people and request that any unwanted messages are reported to us
  • We use trigger warnings in the subject line of emails, and young people can opt out at any time if they prefer not to engage with a particular topic

4. In the event of a crisis

If we thought that someone’s health was being affected negatively then we would always:

  • Put that person’s welfare and wishes first. We request an emergency contact from a trusted adult for each young person. We would only contact them if there was ever a significant concern
  • Try to run meetings differently to make sure that the person could still be involved. Depending in the situation we might suggest that the person concerned step away from the study for a time
  • Recommend services and organisations that could be appropriate for them

5. More information

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Mental Health Support

If you would like mental health support, please access our Support Page.