GM.Digital depends on the involvement of children and young people (CYP) as ‘Citizen Researchers’ to be able to conduct our high quality research, and to enable us to develop digital mental health interventions which are relevant and useful to our service users. We really appreciate the time and effort that children and young people put in, so we want to make sure that they always have a positive experience and understand how valued their contribution is. We also want to make sure that our stakeholders – from a range of clinical, academic and industry backgrounds – know how important children’s and young people’s voices are in our work.
To make sure this happens, we have thought really carefully about our ways of working and have developed a set of principles to guide how we work alongside our CYP Citizen Researchers. Read more about all seven of ‘Our Principles’ below:
1. Equality of Opportunity
GM.Digital value diversity and inclusivity, and aim to make sure that all children and young people have an equal opportunity to participate and have their voices heard. The involvement of children and young people (CYP) from vulnerable backgrounds, including those who typically face discrimination, is actively sought. All participation by children and young people is carefully considered well in advance, making sure that it is flexible and takes into account the different needs and situations of individuals.
2. An Ethical Approach
GM.Digital are committed to always working in an ethical way. By following the expertise of our academics and clinical partners, we will make sure that all ethical guidelines are strictly followed and that children’s and young people’s wellbeing remains central to our work. Participation of children and young people is always voluntary, and will concern issues relevant to themselves. By being honest and clear about what everyone’s role is from the start, children and young people will know what their involvement requires, feel respected and equal partners in the project, and understand the importance of their contribution.
3. A Digital Focus
GM.Digital is committed to exploring how digital technology can be used to improve the preventative mental health of children and young people. By bringing together a range of academic, clinical, and industry partners, and giving them the opportunity to work alongside children and young people, we will be able to apply state of the art digital technologies to solving mental health issues – always in a way which is relevant and acceptable to the people who will use them. This will involve translating existing interventions into more tractable digital solutions, as well developing new sustainable digital tools which can reach a broader audience.
4. Feel Valued
GM.Digital are truly committed to working alongside children and young people. We aim to establish a Children and Young Person’s (CYP) Digital Research Advisory Group, who will be at the forefront of the GM.Digital agenda. The importance of CYP involvement will be made clear to all partners from the start, emphasising the belief that we should empower children and young people to make decisions and direct the research. Regular communication from GM.Digital, giving updates and feedback, will also help children and young people to see how valued their contribution is and that they are helping to make a difference. They will also be made aware of the longer term implications of their work with GM.Digital, and how insights gained and technology developed as a result of their contribution will help a much wider audience.
5. Positive and Engaging
GM.Digital are passionate about the involvement of children and young people in their work, and aim to make their participation a positive and exciting experience. Any involvement will be designed to be as fun, creative and as engaging as possible, whilst also making sure that it is suited to the age and abilities of those taking part. By being involved and becoming part of the research community, children and young people will have the opportunity to challenge themselves and build their confidence, as well as develop a range of new skills and aspirations.
6. Feel Safe and Respected
GM.Digital are determined to make sure that all children and young people involved in the project feel safe in their roles, feel free to be themselves, and contribute to creating a welcoming environment where everyone is encouraged and supported. It will always be made clear that every person involved has the right to express their own opinions, and that it is vital that we listen to and respect each other. Staff will always be available to make sure that everyone feels safe and supported and to resolve any issues that arise.
7. Have Ambition
GM.Digital are determined to make a positive difference and improve the health and social outcomes of vulnerable families, children and young people. With clear ambitions and goals, we are making every effort to make our work successful, pioneering, and of the highest possible standard. By utilising a range of academic, clinical and industry expertise, CAMHS.Digital hope to establish Greater Manchester as a world leader in the development and implementation of innovative digital technology for preventative mental health in CYP. We also aim to inspire children and young people with our passion, dedication and ambition, helping them to also strive for excellence in their contribution, feel proud of their involvement, and continue to be involved in research.