Youth LIVES gives young people from across the UK the opportunity to work with experts to influence mental health research and to shape youth-led priorities for research at the national level. This project is run in collaboration with the University of York and the Mental Health Foundation.

MH2K is in its third year delivering youth-led research in Derby and Derbyshire. They’ve provided valuable insights and influenced change across schools, the NHS and local authorities. This has really helped us to ensure that services are set up to deliver for children and young people.

Nicola Smith, Derby & Derbyshire ICB

How it works

At the beginning of the project, we recruited a diverse group of young people to become ‘citizen researchers.’ Over the course of a year, the citizen researchers take part in a series of virtual Q&A events with experts to gain knowledge and insights into what is currently happening in the field. These events are mainly shaped by the interests of the citizen researchers. After a taking part in these discussions, they become part of Youth Research Teams working with the University of York to address the topics that matter to young people and to determine priorities for new research.

The citizen researchers take part in discussions with the aim to:

Collaborate with experts to understand and explore the priorities for mental health research around young people

Address gaps in research around young people’s mental health through investigating new topics and issues in collaboration with peers

Directly shape questions for research to provide answers for most urgent and neglected areas of young people’s mental health


Scientific mental health research does not often centre or include the voices of young people. In response to this, Youth LIVES gives young people the opportunity to ask key questions and explore what is currently happening in the field of research around young people’s mental health. Through conversations with experts, young people have the chance to increase their knowledge and awareness of the practical steps they can take to undertake mental health research. With this knowledge they are also better able and equipped to understand their own mental health and that of others.

Get Involved

To find out more about this work, please get in touch with folade@leaders-unlocked.org

Get involved

If you’re interested in getting involved with the work we do at Leaders Unlocked, please do send us a message via our contact us page. We are always keen to hear from young people who may want to take part in our projects, as well as professionals who may want to collaborate.

More than 65% of our
staff came from Leaders Unlocked projects

"There has been a real culture change at the top - this has been the biggest element. We had such a challenge as to how to engage thousands of young people in Nottingham, a massive generational gap, we spoke a different language, it was overwhelming. Leaders Unlocked has helped us to bridge that gap and now we understand each other more."