Rebecca Johnson’s PhD research project looks at the experiences of young people people who struggle with mental health, particularly how they feel that people in their lives have treated them.
Rebecca has taken a participatory approach throughout the project, and young people with lived experience have been involved as co-researchers in every stage of the process. She has worked collaboratively with the co-researchers from the outset to design their roles and individual working agreements, ensuring that their engagement is accessible. Safeguarding has been a constant consideration due to the lived experience focus of the research. Rebecca has worked with a third-sector partner to ensure that the wellbeing of the co-researchers is a priority.
From the outset, Rebecca thought deeply about how her co-researchers would benefit from their involvement in the project, in order to ensure that the principles of participatory research were upheld (such as ‘reciprocity of benefit’). An example of this within the project is the provision of appropriate support with transferable skills, such as CV-building activities and interview preparation, as well as working to model good practice regarding work-life balance. The group has regular meetings and consistently takes a ‘relationship-focused’ approach to ensure the co-researchers feel safe and comfortable to bring their lived experience to the research.