Youth & Family Engagement

Youth and family advisors have been involved right from the start. The project is committed to engaging youth and families in all stages: project design, development and implementation. This includes having youth and family representation on the core team as well as advisory groups.

A flower made using fidget toys (pipe cleaners) during a Youth Advisory Meeting!

A flower made using fidget toys (pipe cleaners) during a Youth Advisory Meeting!

Youth advisory group

  • Youth aged 14-24 with lived experience
  • Meet every two months to discuss the project
  • Helps to ensure that services are youth-friendly and responsive to the evolving needs of young people
  • Helped to choose the primary outcome measure
  • Created a list of values that researchers and service providers should uphold throughout this initiative
  • Advised on website development

Family Advisory Group

  • Caregivers and parents with lived experience
  • Meet 4 times per year to discuss any questions that may have arisen during the project and how family experience impacts these issues
  • Provided suggestions as to how the research process can be more family friendly and enjoyable
  • Advised on website development
McCain Model for Maximizing and Retaining Youth Engagement (2014)

McCain Model for Maximizing and Retaining Youth Engagement (2014)

The McCain Centre has developed a model of effective strategies to engage youth in decision-making and programming and has been adopted by the YouthCan IMPACT team.

Traditional efforts to engage youth have been criticized for being too restrictive and not youth-friendly. The McCain approach creates an environment of reciprocal learning and authentic shared decision-making that benefits youth, researchers and the mental health care system as a whole.

Each of the engagement methods provides different involvement opportunities for youth, from a smaller number of youth with high engagement to a larger number of youth with less intensive engagement. Youth are able to use different skills, make large or small commitments and exercise their decision-making power.

For more information about the McCain Model of Youth Engagement, see this recent publication from the team.

Heffernan, O., Herzog, T., Schiralli, J., Hawke, L.D., Chaim, G. Henderson, J. (2017). Implementation of a youth-adult partnership model in youth mental health systems research: Challenges and successes, Health Expectations. doi: 10.1111/hex.12554