AYPH is working in partnership with the International Centre at the University of Bedfordshire on a new research project that will run until 2020. Learning from the Experts is exploring what helps and what hinders the mental health and wellbeing of young people who have been experienced sexual violence in adolescence using participatory action research. Visit the Learning from the Experts page to learn more.
Throughout 2015, two Health Advocates from the Be Healthy project worked together to research how young people are supporting each other and find ways they can do this even better. They conducted a survey and ran two focus groups with young people to talk about what kind of support has helped them and what they wish their friends had done differently. They compiled this all, including direct quotes from young people into an important website that we hope young people will find useful. They worked autonomously with minimal support from adults.
The website has two streams that visitors can follow. One for young people wanting to support a friend and the other for young people looking for support from their friends. We have set this up as an independent website because it has been specially designed to work well on different devices, including mobiles which is how so many young people will access it. This resource is very much aimed at young people and it was an opportunity to give recognition to the ways young people are already supporting each other. However, we have not forgotten the important role that trained professionals can offer to young people going through traumatic situations.
From 2011-2015 we worked with the University of Bedfordshire and local partners, to train young people to be health advocates. We also developed resources for both young people and professionals. The health advocates have disseminated their work at conferences in the UK and Europe.
The Be Healthy project has enabled us to develop a participation model to work with young people affected by sexual exploitation. It has led to increased understanding about the need for isolated young people to share experiences and take part in group work. The Be Healthy model and the youth led resources created on the project are being used to inform the practice of professionals supporting young people affected by sexual exploitation.
Visit the Be Healthy website to find out more about the project and see all the resources, which are free to view and share.