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

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateOct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
EventCitizen Science for Health Conference 2023 - University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 29 Oct 20231 Nov 2023


ConferenceCitizen Science for Health Conference 2023
LocationUniversity of Twente
Internet address


  • Citizen science
  • Co-researcher
  • Mental health


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