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ORIGIN: Online arts and culture for young people’s mental health

This research aims to support mental health in underrepresented young people through developing and testing an ‘online museum’. Co-design and co-creation activities with young people will help identify and develop materials for the intervention.

Partners: Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Uni of Oxford, Sheffield Hallam University, Uni of Sheffield, London School of Economics, University College London, Uni of Liverpool, Uni of Plymouth

Project team: Joe Langley

This project aims to support underrepresented young people, including LGBTQIA+, ethnic minority, neurodiverse, those who live in the most deprived areas of the UK and those who are currently on NHS waiting lists for mental health support. The study involves a cohort of these underrepresented young people aged 16-24, co-designing an online arts and culture intervention aimed at reducing anxiety and depression. The work follows on from a pilot study, Ways of Being, which found a positive link between engaging in online arts and culture and mental health.

The project is led by Dr Rebecca Syed Sheriff, an NHS consultant psychiatrist and senior clinical researcher. It is a multidisciplinary collaboration bringing together expertise in culture & heritage, community & digital engagement, co-design, young people’s mental health, psychiatry, software design and qualitative methods from universities across the country.

Related news >> Online arts and culture for young people’s mental health – new research programme announced  

Ashmolean Museum/University of Oxford.

Lab4Living’s role

Lab4Living (led by Dr Joe Langley) will facilitate the co-design elements of this major programme, drawing on expertise developed in working with young people (Starworks) and mental health (Function First). We will recruit underrepresented young people and run a series of workshops to help them identify content for the online resource, and then develop, reflect on and refine it. To help build the young people’s skills in creative writing and storytelling, we will bring in journalists and writers. The aim is to seek artefacts and stories from all over Britain which can be added to the resource. Lab4Living will also be involved in the interaction design components of the project.

A screenshot of the Ways Of Being website. Ways of Being © University of Oxford and Imagineear Ltd

Drawing on the conceptual framework derived from the pilot work (Ways of Being), we will explore the mechanisms at play through the content development co-design work, deepening our understanding of what factors will better engage people and better support their mental health.

Conceptual framework derived from the ‘Ways of Being’ pilot study

Project Aims

1. To further develop an online arts and culture intervention to support mental health in underrepresented young people (aged 16-24 years).

2. To listen to and support the mental health needs of underrepresented young people, including a specific focus on neurodiversity.

3. To test this intervention in diverse young people with mental health problems who are on NHS waiting lists and those who have not sought help.

Related projects >> Joe Langley NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Fellowship

Previous work

This project builds on the ‘Ways of Being’ pilot study led by University of Oxford (see website link below).