Digital Dialogues – Co-Creating Resources with Children and Young People to Aid Discussions around Online Use with Mental Health Practitioners

Overview and aims:

Risks to young people’s mental health linked to online use are the subject of continuing policy concern and include encouragement of suicidal behaviour, self-harm and disordered eating. Clinicians currently lack access to protocols to guide discussion, and conversations can be hampered by gaps in understanding, resulting in young people feeling stigmatised for their online use. Good Practice Indicators (GPIs) have been developed to assist conversations, but clinicians also identify a need for training and information, which young people and clinicians concur should in part be informed and delivered by young people.

This project aims to facilitate conversations about online behaviour between mental health practitioners and young people (YP) by co-creating and disseminating a series of knowledge exchange resources to accompany the GPIs. We will achieve this through 3 work packages (WP) with objectives to:

  1. Map perceived knowledge gaps in relation to YP’s use and experiences of digital technology amongst our key stakeholder group: mental health care practitioners (including student mental health services) (WP1)
  2. Recruit a diverse working group of YP with whom we will devise the blueprint of young person-led training for practitioners (WP2)
  3. Work collaboratively with YP, practitioners and creatives to produce innovative, bite-sized knowledge exchange resources for practitioners informed by the needs of practitioners and expertise of young people. (WP3)


The participants in this study will include mental health practitioners (any person who works with young people in a professional mental health capacity), recruited to complete a survey on knowledge gaps around asking YP about their online use. Additionally, young people (14-24yrs) will be recruited through multiple resources, to facilitate resource building.


WP1 – We will use an online survey and focus groups of mental health practitioners, to identify knowledge needs, seek suggestions for resources to meet these needs and obtain preferences around mode of delivery.

WP2 – We will recruit 8-10 YP (14-24yrs) with lived-experience of using digital technology to manage mental health difficulties via our collaborators, including representatives from groups known to be high online users/at heightened risk of online harms. Ensuring inclusivity, we will engage members through various off and online methods (written, individual, group) and, with civic partnership in mind, will partner with Bristol-based charitable mental health organisation, Many Minds (, to run a set of engaging workshops, empowering youth participation via creative methods like performance and storytelling.

WP3 – Creation of resources prioritised in WP2 (months 10-14):  we anticipate these may include videos, animations, infographics and tools such as a ‘prompt bank’ and glossary of online terms. YP (and practitioners if applicable) will be involved in storyboarding, scriptwriting, performance and editing.

Project team:

  • University of Bristol, UK: Lucy Biddle (PI), Zoë Haime, Myles Jay-Linton, Helen Bould, David Morgan


This study is funded by Research England

 Publications and other outputs:

Output from this study will be available at

 Contact for further details: