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Information for parents and carers

The link to the survey is at the bottom of this page though we recommend you read the following information before taking part.

Mental health problems for young women and girls are on the rise. For example, in 2017, 1 in 8 young women aged 17-19 experienced mental health problems. This has increased to 1 in 4 in 2021. This could be due to a range of factors, including the circumstances young women and girls face.

The aim of this project is to develop a deeper understanding of the experiences of young women and girls and how these relate to their mental health. From this, we plan to develop new ways of helping all young women and girls to understand and talk about their mental health.

We use the terms young woman and girl inclusively. If you are gender diverse and feel this topic is relevant to you, and you want to take part in this study, we welcome your views. We will respect your gender.

The title of the project is ‘My Story and Me’ and the Chief Investigator can be contacted by email: Jessica.Deighton@annafreud.org.

What is ‘My Story and Me’?

In a separate study, we are developing ‘My Story and Me’, a tool to help young women and girls, and anyone else this is relevant to, understand and talk about their mental health. We want ‘My Story and Me’ to be inclusive of young women and girls from different groups, including: black and minoritised ethnic groups, LGBTQI+, and neuro-diverse groups.

In the future, young women and girls who receive ‘My Story and Me’ will:

  1. Watch a pre-recorded video of young women and girls talking about ‘Who am I? What is My Mental Health Story? How Would I Like to be Supported?’
  2. They will then record their own story about ‘Who am I? What is My Mental Health Story? How Would I Like to be Supported?’. These videos will only be accessible to the person who made them.

All videos will also have audio-only and text option. The videos will include stories from young women and girls from different ethnic, LGBTQI+, and neuro-diverse groups so that they are relatable for different young women and girls.

We would like to hear your views and thoughts about ‘My Story and Me’ and about the study we are planning to test whether ‘My Story and Me’ helps young women and girls. Please see the summary of the study we are planning below.

The project

My Story and Me process image

We are inviting your child to take part in this study as you said you were interested in it. Your child is able to take part if they are a young woman or girl aged 12-24 years.

We would also like to hear from people working in organisations that ‘My Story and Me’ might be relevant to. Any staff working in education, mental health, and community organisations are also welcome to take part.

We want to hear from a range of different voices. A core focus is to hear from those who are less likely to be heard. We particularly encourage participants from:

  • Black and minoritised ethnic groups
  • LGBTQI+ groups
  • Neurodiverse groups
  • Multiple identities (if you are from more than one of these groups)

Taking part in the study involves either completing an online survey (15 mins) or a one-to-one or group discussion that will last about 45 minutes. The discussions will be online using Microsoft Teams.

It is you and your child’s decision to take part or not. If you do choose to take part and there are any questions your child doesn’t feel comfortable answering, they don’t have to answer them and they can stop straight away. You both can take as much time as you need. Your child does not have to talk about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or upset.

Advantages:

  • Many people find taking part in research rewarding as they provide a valuable contribution to the development of knowledge.
  • There will be a £10 voucher for your child’s participation, which they will receive by email. If you or your child decide to withdraw at any point from the study, your child will still receive the voucher.

Disadvantages: Due to the topics, discussions may be sensitive. Please let a member of the research team know if you or your child would like to talk, need a break at any time, or would like to speak again after the discussion.

If they do become upset, please speak to a member of the research team. For more support contact:

  • Anna Freud Crisis Messenger: Text AFC to 85258. It is the free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.
  • The Mix: Call 0808 808 4994. The Mix are there to help you take on any challenge you’re facing.
  • Samaritans: Free to call service 24 hours a day, call them on 116 123.
  • LGBT+ Switchboard Helpline: Call 0300 330 0630 10am-10pm every day.
  • Mindline Trans+: Call 0300 330 5468 Mondays and Fridays 8pm to midnight. Mindline Trans+ provide emotional and mental health support for anyone identifying as trans, non-binary, gender fluid, and other gender identities.

You and your child's information

  • Other information we collect, like your and your child’s contact details and consent form, will be kept safe.
  • We will ask you and your child if we can audio record the one-to-one or discussion, so we don’t miss what people say.
  • Another organisation will write up the recordings, and we will make sure that they keep your data safe.
  • When the recordings have been written up, we will replace your child’s name with a random number and the recording will be deleted.
  • Survey responses will also have a random number, not names.
    o If your child completes a survey, we won’t be able to remove their responses afterward – they will never be connected to their name.
  • If you or your child want us to remove their responses after the discussion, you can contact us and ask us to delete them.
    • You can do this up to 2 weeks after the discussion. You don’t have to tell us why.
    • After this time, most of the information will not be connected to any names. We won’t be able to delete your responses because we won’t know who said what.

There are two steps to this study
1. Now: You and your child sign a consent form to tell us that you are happy to take part (10 mins).
2. a) Online survey: On what your child thinks about ‘My Story and Me’ and our future plans (15 mins).
2. b) Online one-to-one or group discussion: On what they think about ‘My Story and Me’ and our future plans (45 mins).

If you have any questions about the study, your rights in the study, or how we are using information, please contact us on 020 7794 2313 or Jessica.Deighton@annafreud.org.

What next?
It is up to you and your child to decide to take part. If you would like to, please complete this form.

Further information
Who are we?
This project is led by Jess Deighton and Julian Edbrooke-Childs. Jess leads a team of researchers (including Julian) at the Evidence Based Practice Unit, which is based at the Anna Freud Centre (a children’s mental health charity) and University College London.

Jess and Julian are passionate about this project for many reasons. In their work they both have seen how young people from certain groups are much less likely to have a voice in research. This research shapes how young people are supported, so if we don’t hear from different groups, support isn’t going to meet the needs of different groups.

Jess is especially interested in this topic because she is a mum of three girls. She is deeply concerned about how girls and young women seem to be increasingly experiencing a range of challenges that undermine their mental health and what this means for her girls and many others like them. Julian is especially interested in this topic because he has experience of mental health difficulties. He wants to help all young women to have a voice in their mental health and support.

This project wouldn’t be possible without the fantastic diverse team of people involved. If you would like to see more about Jess, Julian, and the team, please visit our webpage here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/evidence-based-practice-unit/people.

UCL Ethics Committee has approved the study
All research is looked at by an independent group of people, called a Research Ethics Committee, to protect your interests and safety. This research has been reviewed and approved by University College London Research Ethics Committee (ref.: 14307/008).

Other information

  • We will not share what your child tells us with anyone else (including with you).
    • We will only tell someone if we feel it is an emergency or if you tell us something that puts you or others at risk.
    • If this happens, we will talk with you about it first.
  • If your child takes part in a group discussion, we ask them to please not repeat what other people say after the discussion. It is important we all treat each other with respect and keep discussions private. If you have any concerns about the group discussion, please contact Jess (Jessica.Deighton@annafreud.org).
  • The results will be published in reports, presentations, and websites – they will not include your name.
  • If you would like to see a summary of what we’ve learned, please let us know and we will send this to you, or check our website in December 2022.
  • University College London is responsible for the research.
  • The research is funded by the Public Health Research programme of the National Institute of Health Research.
    • Please contact Jess if there are any problems or if you have any complaints. If you want to take your complaint further, you can contact the Chair of the ethics committee on ethics@ucl.ac.uk.
  • This research team includes the Anna Freud Centre, University College London, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, Centre for Mental Health, and Gendered Intelligence.

NEXT STEPS:

Please follow this link to complete a consent form: https://forms.office.com/r/X0rAA7TxxE

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