Inaugural meeting of Wolfson Centre's new advisory board
15 July 2021
The first meeting of the Wolfson Centre’s Implementation and Engagement advisory board took place this month. The board brings together academics, the NHS, schools, Welsh Government, third sector partners, and young people themselves to advise how research in the Wolfson Centre for Young People’s Mental Health can make a difference to young people affected by mental health difficulties.
Members of the board include youth representatives, clinicians from the NHS, third sector partners, as well as the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, and advisors from Welsh Government.
The meeting, which was chaired by Professor Ann John from Swansea University, saw the group agree its terms of reference and offered the Wolfson Centre team a chance to hear directly from collaborative partners on what they would like to see from the research centre. In a wide-ranging discussion, conversation topics included the framework for embedding a whole-school approach in Wales, the importance of research policy and practice links in the Centre’s work, mental health awareness and training, stigma, and the importance of ensuring that young people are involved in every stage of the centre’s research and public engagement work.
Wolfson Centre co-director, Professor Stephan Collishaw, said “The new advisory board brings together our collaborative partners from across different sectors and disciplines to ensure our research can be of real benefit in improving youth mental health outcomes. The first meeting of the Implementation and Engagement board (IEB) was a great success and has given us invaluable advice on considerations for the Wolfson Centre’s work going forward.”
Professor Frances Rice, co-director, added: “One of the biggest challenges for improving young people’s mental health is the wide gap between research, policy, and practice. The IEB will help us to bridge this gap. By reviewing and advising on our research, the IEB members play a key role in ensuring our research will have real-world applicability and will translate rapidly into policy and practice.”
Professor Collishaw concluded: “It is an exciting time for the Wolfson Centre as our research gets underway and we are looking forward to continuing to collaborate with our advisory board to ensure our work has a positive impact on improving the mental health of young people.
"Offering genuine research participation opportunities and resources co-produced in partnership with young people, such as through our new young people’s advisory groups, will be one of our key priorities as the Centre continues to expand and develop.”
The Wolfson Centre’s Implementation and Engagement Board (IEB) will advise on research aims, strategies to engage young people, mechanisms for implementation in practice and policy, and offer cross-sector partnership links. The new board will meet regularly throughout the coming years.