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Youth Voices

Public Involvement is a Two-Way Street!

18 April 2023

Hello, I’m Nath, one of the youth advisory group (YAG) members at the Wolfson Centre for Young People’s Mental Health. In September, I completed my dissertation for an MSc in Strategic Marketing, a feat which was helped by the wonderful experts at the Centre!

In this blog, I’m going to use their involvement as a case study, to vouch for the way that the Wolfson Centre goes above and beyond to support their YAG members.

It might not be a shock to you that there can sometimes be a bit of a gap between influential research and those that need to use it. Despite this gap being well-known, it can be quite easy for time to be spent ‘fishing in the wrong pond’. So, I wanted to explore this from a marketing perspective and find out what could be done to address it.

A young man and woman on stage in front of a large screen which reads Donate your mind to research

With social media becoming an increasingly dominant tool for disseminative purposes, I was wondering whether a framework for effective dissemination on social media would be of any use to academics to help them find their key stakeholders online.

And who better to ask than Dr. Olga Eyre, a clinical research fellow at the Wolfson Centre and Becs Parker, the Communications Officer at the time.

The pair were amongst a group of academics, communication leads, service leads and members of the public that were all willing to offer their expertise to move us towards a framework for the dissemination of depression research on social media. They kindly engaged in semi-structured interviews so that I could quiz them on their current approaches, identify what the key barriers to effective dissemination were and then collaboratively dive into some potential solutions.

It was fantastic to have them both in the sample group, not least because it was fascinating to hear about the way things work at the Centre, but also because I got to pick the brains of two experts and their insight really helped the project (for which I was grateful to receive a very flattering grade). Plus, I’m sure some of their soundbites would not be out of place on a billboard!

 Becs Parker

One of the main highlights from my time working in the Wolfson Centre was the opportunity to collaborate with the centre’s wonderful Youth Advisors. I was really pleased to discuss the important topic with Nathan for his dissertation about the role social media can play when sharing research findings. I am sure his ongoing work will have a big impact in the field of mental health research dissemination in years to come. – Becs Parker


Dr Olga Eyre

It was great to be involved with this work- I really enjoyed discussing with Nathan the dissemination of depression research on social media. Nathan and the rest of the youth advisory group have provided so much valuable input into projects that I am involved with at the Wolfson Centre, so it was great that I was able to contribute to the work Nathan is doing on this very relevant topic. – Dr Olga Eyre


Having access to key people at the Wolfson Centre is just one of the many benefits of my involvement as a YAG member. The fact that they stepped up to help out despite their workloads really demonstrates their commitment to youth involvement and participation. We’ve always been told that if there is anything we needed to just ask, but it is easy to assume that it is something everyone says, but my dissertation proves that they really do mean it.

For those interested, my MSc dissertation was titled ‘Towards a Framework for the Dissemination of Depression Research via Social Media’ and a number of interesting themes emerged. For example, it was found that a framework would improve the effectiveness of the dissemination of depression research on social media and would be welcomed by experts in academia.

A successful framework would have to address the barriers of expertise gaps, measurement uncertainty, a lack of academic confidence and a limited understanding of stakeholder preferences as well as resource and capacity restraints. So, whilst framework recommendations were provided, the main outcome was that academics may consider engaging with marketing professionals from the beginning of a research project, as many of their core competencies cover the areas where academia can sometimes fall short.

Nevertheless, the project wouldn’t have any outcomes if I didn’t have such great access to key experts in the field, so I’d like to thank the Wolfson Centre, Becs, Olga and everyone else that took part for their enthusiasm and willingness to help out.


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