1. In this systematic review, engaging youth in mental health research was found to be helpful across all stages of the research process.

2. However, youth engagement in mental health research may be more costly and resource intensive.

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)

Community engagement has been increasingly recognized as an important factor in research. Though adults have been involved in this process, youth involvement, especially within the domain of mental health research, has not been well described. As a result, the objective of the present systematic review was to evaluate and summarize the impact of youth engagement in mental health research.

Of 2836 identified records, 14 studies were included from various databases from 2014-2022. Studies were included if participants were between the ages of 8-25 years and if they described at minimum one youth research activity and one impact of youth engagement. Studies were excluded if youth were involved only in the development stage of an intervention. The review was performed using PRISMA guidelines. The primary outcome was the impact of youth engagement on mental health research.

The results demonstrated that youth engagement at all levels of mental health research was helpful in moving projects forward— whether it was through enhancing data collection, improving dissemination, etc. However, practical issues associated with youth engagement included recruitment and funding. Despite these results, the study was limited by the fact that youth were involved only in the later stages of the review and not in the design, which may impact its relevancy. Nonetheless, the present study demonstrated the importance of engaging youth in mental health research.

Click to read the study in Health Expectations

Image: PD

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