Models & Methods – how to involve young people

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                 There is a significant amount of              A continuum approach which avoids

Models &         literature relating to models of youth
                 participation yet very little of it relates
                                                               implying the need for young people to
                                                               always have control or decision making

Methods –        specifically to youth participation
                 in the area of mental health.
                                                               powers is preferable within mental
                                                               health. Westhorpe (1987) recognises

how to involve   It is sometimes difficult to apply
                 generalist youth participation
                                                               that options exist and that some youth
                                                               involvement strategies will be more

young people     models to mental health as they
                 do not recognise young people’s
                                                               appropriate in some situations than
                                                               others. Further, this continuum of
                                                               youth involvement acknowledges that
                 fluctuating capacity for participation.
                                                               a variety of different strategies and
                 Youth participation should not be             approaches need to be utilised to be
                 evaluated on the idea of decision-            inclusive. The continuum describes
                 making being the key element.                 the following conceptual options:
                 Instead other factors and support
                 mechanisms, like peer support
                 and skills development, should
                 be taken into consideration.



                 Ad Hoc                  Where an environment is established which supports young
                                         people to contribute their ideas or information about their
                                         needs.

                 Structured              Involves deliberate development of a strategy to seek young
                 Consultation            people’s opinions about what they need or what problems they
                                         face, and implies a two-way flow of information and ideas.

                 Influence               Involves some formal, structured input in order to ensure at
                                         least a minimal level of influence on the organisation.

                 Delegation              Where young people are provided with real responsibility
                                         for undertaking particular tasks within an organisation
                                         recognising that there must be a mutual understanding
                                         of the extent of power that young people have.

                 Negotiation             Where young people and the organisation each contribute
                                         their ideas, information and perspectives and decisions are
                                         reached by consensus and compromise.

                 Control                 Young people make all or many of the crucial decisions within
                                         the organisation, from policy and programming to financial
                                         management and hiring and firing of staff.
Utilising this continuum, the following three models of youth participation                                                         Option 3: Speak Up
have been specifically developed for mental health.                                                                                 Within this framework, young people
                                                                                                                                    contribute their ideas, information and
   Models of Youth Participation in Mental Health                                                                                   perspectives. Decisions are reached
                                                                                                                                    by some form of consensus, and young
                                                                                                                                    people’s participation is at a level of




                                                               s
                                                            rt
                                                                                                                                    ‘negotiation’. This means that young


                                                          po
                                                                   Option 3

                                                          up
                                                                                                                                    people are actively involved in all
                                                   s
                                                of
                                                                                                                                    aspects of the consultation process
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                                                                                                                                    from design, to implementation,
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                                                                   Speak out            Negotiation                                 dissemination and evaluation. Young
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                                       Option 2                                                                                     people research the ideas and beliefs
            pl
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                                                                                                                                    of their local communities and/or the
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                                                                                                                                    young people involved in Step Up and/
      si
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                                                                                        Delegation                                  or Hook Up activities, and then present
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 In




                                        Hook up
                                                                                                                                    this collective data. At this step, young
      Option 1                                                     Hook Up              Influence
                                                                                                                                    people act as ‘youth researchers’
                                                                                                                                    within the consultative process.
                                                                                        Structured consultation                     This is the recommended method
      Step Up                                                                                                                       where young people may:
                                                                                        Ad Hoc
                                         Step Up                   Step Up
                                                                                                                                    • Be involved in a national forum
                                                                                        Westhorpe’s continuum (1987)
                                                                                                                                      and program to share concerns,
                                                                                                                                      ideas and problem solve strategies
                                                                                                                                      in a collaborative way
Option 1: Step Up                                                              Option 2: Hook Up
                                                                                                                                    • Liaise with programs and broader
Step Up is about asking young people                                           Hook Up gives young people a
                                                                                                                                      groups in the community around
for their views, ideas and feedback                                            more direct influence on programs.
                                                                                                                                      the development and review
about specific issues. Young people                                            Young people are provided with real
                                                                                                                                      of good practice principles,
participate through structured or                                              responsibility and clear guidelines
                                                                                                                                      policies and strategic plans
ad hoc consultation. Step Up allows                                            for undertaking particular tasks and
young people’s views to be valued and                                          participate through ‘influence’ and                  • Design resources within projects
taken into account, however, there is                                          ‘delegation’ consultation. Young people                and participate in their trial,
little influence on the outcome/s.                                             and adults need to have an agreed                      implementation and review
                                                                               understanding of working together to                   with the broader community
This method is most useful where
                                                                               achieve specified outcomes, therefore                • Attend and present at
young people or the organisation want:
                                                                               the level of influence is extended.                    national conferences
• Comment on policy and
                                                                               This is the recommended method                       • Participate on program committees
  national plans
                                                                               where young people may:                                that meet on a regular basis
• Review of marketing
                                                                               • Be involved in a series of state based
  tools and resources
                                                                                 forums, defined by a time period
• Focus testing of new program                                                                                                      Limitations
                                                                               • Share concerns, ideas and                          No particular option guarantees that
  initiatives and/or resources
                                                                                 collaboratively problem-                           consultation will be participatory
• To share personal stories,                                                     solve strategies with mental                       and all options have advantages
  journeys and experiences                                                       health programs                                    and disadvantages. Selection of
                                                                               • Develop and review good                            the options should be based on:
                                                                                 practice principles, policies                      • the program’s needs
                                                                                 and strategic plans
                                                                                                                                    • desired outcomes
                                                                               • Participate in resource
                                                                                 design and review                                  • the type of data required and

                                                                               • Attend and present at state-                       • the characteristics and preferences
                                                                                 based conferences                                    of the young people involved.

                                                                               • Participate in peer mentoring to                   Other considerations include resource
                                                                                 ensure sustainability of processes                 availability, worker experience and
                                                                                 for longer-term projects                           the availability of young people.




                                                                               Source: Australian Infant, Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health
                                                                               Association, ‘National Youth Participation Strategy Scoping Project Report’.
                                                                               Stepney: Australian Infant, Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health
                National Youth Mental Health Foundation
                                                                               Association, 2008

				
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Description: Models & Methods – how to involve young people