PPIE Award Winner 2023: The Blueprint Project

by | Feb 27, 2024 | PPIE Award Winners, PPIE Celebration | 0 comments

In this blog series we will be featuring our award winners and highly commended recipients from the Faculty’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to PPIE’ awards. Showcasing the inspirational and outstanding commitment to PPIE that has made a positive difference to our community and highlighting the amazing events, activities, people and groups from across the Faculty. 

Our next blog in this series will feature the Blueprint Project, a collaborative research project that worked with six young co-researchers with lived experience to explore services for children and young people with common mental health problems. The project were winners in the Group category at the 2023 awards. 

With increased rates of mental health disorders in children and young people in recent years, ensuring the availability and adequacy of mental health services is now more important than ever. Equally, it is vital that as service users, young people have a voice in this area. In response to this, the NIHR funded Blueprint project, a collaborative research project which worked with 6 young co-researchers with lived experience, set out to explore services for children and young people with common mental health problems. 

To ensure Blueprint was rooted in lived experience, the team were committed to placing young people with experiences of mental health services at the heart of the project. By employing co-researchers to collaborate with academic researchers throughout the project, the goal was to move beyond typical approaches to PPIE, which frequently only places experts by experience in an advisory capacity. 

The team wanted to give the young co-researchers equal status to the substantive researchers within the team, receiving pay equivalent to that of a University research assistant. However, the project acknowledged that the co-researchers would require support, both pastorally and in terms of research training. Thus the project partnered with the McPin Foundation, an organisation with extensive experience in supporting and training young people in advocacy and co-production.  

Image taken from: https://mcpin.org/contemplations-from-copenhagen-just-ask-young-people-and-other-key-thoughts-from-a-youth-mental-health-conference/

Working as members of the research team, the six co-researchers were involved in data collection, data analysis, developing accessible multi-media recruitment materials, and dissemination activities, including the co-authorship of two peer reviewed articles and a presentation at an International Youth Mental Health Conference. The co-researchers also helped to develop Blueprint’s co-produced final model. 

Blueprint has received considerable interest from the research community about its collaborative approach to co-researching with many asking for guidance on how to deal with its practical challenges. Blueprint team members, including the co-researchers, thus co-authored a peer-reviewed paper on guidelines for collaborative involvement. 

Blueprint is an outstanding example of implementing PPIE in research. The project team addressed an important gap in the literature and have left a legacy through their novel approach to conducting collaborative research with those with lived experience. Additionally, all six co-researchers have since used their experiences to move into new roles or further study. Four are pursuing research careers and two are studying to become healthcare practitioners. 

Find out more: 

Follow Blueprint on twitter – @BlueprintMH 

The Blueprint project was funded by the NIHR HS&DR Programme (ref: 17/09/08). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. 

To find out more about PPIE: watch our short film, sign up to the monthly Public Engagement Digest, visit the PPIE blog, or contact srbmh@manchester.ac.uk. 

To read more about other PPIE Award winners visit our blogsite.