Engaging youth mental health stakeholders in peer-research through Photovoice

Youth and family engagement is essential in youth mental health (YMH). Finding accessible, engaging methods for eliciting these stakeholders’ views remains a challenge. This workshop draws on a Photovoice project within ACCESS Open Minds (a pan-Canadian YMH network) to highlight the value of arts-based approaches in facilitating engagement. AOM’s Youth and Family/Carers councils played critical roles in implementing this project. A train-the-trainer approach was used whereby stakeholder partners from nine AOM sites participated in Photovoice, learning to facilitate workshops in their communities. Their outputs provide valuable insights into “’what transformation in YMH looks like” to these diverse stakeholders. This workshop will be facilitated by two peer-researchers, one youth and one family member. It will be an experiential workshop providing participants with an opportunity to partake in a mock Photovoice project. Discussion will focus on peer-involved arts-based methods and their value in addressing power imbalances and promoting genuine engagement.

Presenters and slide deck

Yvonne Pelling

Yvonne leads the Family and Carers Council at ACCESS Open Minds in a way that showcases the council as examples of who they are: people who show up, commit to being seen, to self-care, to growth and development. She fosters collaborative approaches that recognizes and allows each member of the council to bring their experience and passion to the forefront of their projects. As a former peer support worker at the Douglas University Health Institute, Yvonne values families and collaboration and is committed to the transformation of youth mental health services across Canada.

Alyssa Frampton

Alyssa Frampton, BA., works at the intersections of community, rights, health and policy. Alyssa became passionate about youth inclusion in health as a young person who experienced significant barriers to receiving the healthcare information and services she needed. Over the past 8 years, Alyssa has led and advised many initiatives focused on youth and community engagement, youth mental health, harm reduction and advocacy. Alyssa applies a rights-based approach to her work and fundamentally believes that everyone should have access to a safe place to live and to what they need to be healthy. Alyssa is an associate with Wisdom2Action, sits on the ACCESS Open Minds National Youth Council, and is involved in several other projects around promoting community engagement and improving health outcomes for all.



Key Learnings

  • Photovoice is a participatory approach to research that centers around photography and group dialogue.
  • Photovoice allows people to reflect and record their community's strengths and concerns, promotes critical dialogue and helps reach policy makers.

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