Aarhus Universitets segl

Two new posters from the Citizen Science 4 Health Conference by Gitte Kragh and others from the Giving Young People a Voice project

Zenodo, 25 October 2023

Co-creating science communication and research with young people about their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Maindal, Nina; Herbers Poulsen, Signe; Oddershede, Kristian; Sejerkilde, Mathias; Pedersen, Stine B.; Haghju, Manizha; Sinclair, Emma; Harrits, Anne; Kirk, Ulrik Bak; Sherson, Jacob Friis; Kragh, Gitte

Poster presented at the Citizen Science 4 Health Conference 2023 based on the 'Giving Young People a Voice' project, run by Aarhus University and partners in Denmark.


During the COVID-19 lockdown, many young individuals faced significant mental health challenges as their daily lives underwent radical changes. They were confined to their homes and deprived of regular social activities. In the project "Giving Young People a Voice," we took the initiative to engage young individuals in two-way science communication regarding their mental health, as well as co-creation of coping strategies to empower them. Furthermore, we engaged five of the young people as co-researchers and workshop facilitators. Through three iterative and participatory workshops we actively involved more than 150 (16-20 y/o) young individuals in a co-creative process. The initial workshop focused on the challenges and benefits the young people experienced during the COVID-19 lockdown. In the following workshop, a group of young individuals undertook the task of analyzing these reflections. In the third workshop, a separate group of young participants effectively translated the synthesized reflections into actionable recommendations or advice. Finally, the collaboration was documented by a mixed method approach containing both interviews, observations, and a questionnaire. Results demonstrated value creation for all participants and provided valuable insights for enhancing two-way science communication and co-creation. We propose that involving young co-researchers can be an effective approach to engaging other young people in research through peer-to-peer communication and fostering meaningful participation for all.


Engaging Young People as Co-researchers in Mental Health Research during the COVID-19 Crisis: Ethical and Practical Reflections

Maindal, Nina; Herbers Poulsen, Signe; Harrits, Anne; Kragh, Gitte

Poster presented at the Citizen Science 4 Health Conference 2023 based on the 'Giving Young People a Voice' project, run by Aarhus University and partners in Denmark.


Engaging young people as co-researchers in mental health research holds great promise for both youth and research outcomes. However, there is a limited amount of literature and evidence on the value creation, impact, and challenges associated with this approach. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we initiated a collaboration with five young non-scientists (aged 18-20) as co-researchers. Our objectives were to gain a comprehensive understanding of young people's mental health and co-create targeted communication materials, and secondly, to explore the benefits of a co-researcher collaboration for both young individuals and the research project. We examined the involvement of co-researchers in planning, data collection, analysis, and presentation of results. The evaluation of the co-researcher collaboration involved interviews with the co-researchers, an evaluation workshop, and a questionnaire completed by the researchers. The results showed that the collaboration brought valuable insights and perspectives, and involving co-researchers proved effective in engaging young people. However, the collaboration also showed a need for careful implementation, clear communication, mutual understanding, and recognizing co-researchers' competencies are crucial. Our experience showed that young non-scientific co-researchers can significantly contribute to mental health research by providing unique perspectives and empowering young people.