Moving Minds Forward: Seeking the Next Generation of YPAGers

Graphic showing a seated person conducting a remote video meeting with two other figures.

We have some exciting news…YPAG is expanding! 

The good news travelled throughout the local UK area and landed us with over 60 potential candidates aged 14-16. We held two online information sessions on the 12th of February, where interested young people could get a better idea of what the YPAG is, and how we roll. 

We opted for online sessions (despite our transition back to in-person meetings) since it was only a taster sesh, and it meant no one had to worry about transport or in-person anxiety. Once everyone was connected, we began the meeting with some breakout room icebreakers. Please feel free to play along with our would-you-rather questions:

  1. Constantly be on the verge of sneezing, or have hiccups forever?
  2. Be able to speak to animals, or plants?
  3. Have a personal chef, or a personal driver for the rest of your life?

Consider the ice officially broken; the candidates enjoyed these thoroughly, and gave some fabulous reasoning behind their thoughts! People pointed out how amazing speaking to an old sequoia tree would be, and how personal ‘drivers’ included pilots and ship captains.

Moving onto the more serious stuff… we discussed what YPAG is all about, and what we get up to as a team. Joining the group is an opportunity to get involved in research that matters, it’s a unique and interesting way to make a difference in the world of mental health research. 

To give our candidates a glimpse of what a real session feels like, Dr Katrin Wilhelm lead a taster session on her ongoing ‘Eco-Flourishing’ project. She kicked things off with a thought-provoking presentation, followed by a group activity where we discussed our associations with the phrases ‘Eco-Flourishing’ and ‘Living Labs’. Returning to our breakout rooms, candidates discussed a research question, which allowed them to work with each other and bounce ideas around freely. 

After a short break, a few of our experienced YPAG members spoke about why they joined the YPAG and shared some valuable advice on what to expect when first starting out. They talked fondly of cool research projects they’ve been a part of (Childline, Surprise, Merging Minds) as well as their favourite thing about being a YPAG member, which ranged from gaining field-related experience to enjoying the perks of a fully remote travel-friendly role! We also held a brief Q&A session where candidates could ask any burning questions to our older members.

To wrap things up, we sent out the sign-up link for those who were still keen on joining, and walked through each question in real-time. With these initial recruitment sessions being successful, we held interviews with our shortlisted candidates and finalised the recruitment process. We cannot wait to welcome our new members on board!”