The project Nothing about us without us: civic activism as a mental health intervention with young people explores the resilience-building potential of positive identity formation, with, by and for young people facing multiple disadvantages.
It is developing a multidisciplinary approach to test the role of civic activism as both an intervention and a systems response to the youth mental health crisis, and is part of a programme of research called Adolescence, Mental Health and the Developing Mind, which is being jointly funded by three research councils and co-ordinated by the Medical Research Council.
Led by Professor Angie Hart, the project is being undertaken by the University of Brighton's Centre of Resilience for Social Justice, in collaboration with Boingboing, community partners and Queen's University, Belfast.
Our team of co-researchers are from different generations, professions and backgrounds including young people facing many disadvantages, adult community researchers, academics and mental health professionals. Through this research we will co-create knowledge regarding the role of innovative ‘glocal’ civic activism as a mechanism to strengthen young people’s mental health.
Our hunch is that creating belonging through civic activism could help us have positive identities because research tells us that a strong and positive identity offers us direction in life and indicates that we matter in the world.
The need for research into civic activism stems from the Centre of Resilience for Social Justice's work in Blackpool, where we have already had success experimenting with a new way of supporting young people’s mental health, based on an approach to resilience that is about ‘Beating the Odds and Changing the Odds’, which we call Boingboing Resilience.
This approach helps us build our own resilience as well as challenge the disadvantages that increase risks in the first place. The project will help us build on that work and share it with other young people and their adult supporters.
For further details of funding and participants, visit our university research website pages on Nothing about us without us.