Youth partnerships in mental health

Youth participation has been defined as “a process where young people, as active citizens, take part in, express views on, and have decision-making power about issues that affect them” (Farthing, 2012 p.73). The concept of youth participation is one that is protected according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 12, 1989). It outlines that youth have the right to freely express their views, have them heard and taken into account regarding all matters that affect them. By embedding young people in the decision-making processes that effect change at an operational level, organisations are maximising the resources spent by ensuring services are engaging, accessible and relevant to service users. Meaningful participation can also benefit the young people involved by increasing their sense of citizenship and social inclusion, which can mitigate risk factors for mental ill-health, such as social isolation (Oliver et al., 2006; Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 2005).