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  • Run by the University of York, and supported by a steering group of local stakeholders (eg local government) and organisations that support young people in two communities in North Yorkshire.
  • Addresses evidence gaps on how emotional support from families can help or hinder mental health outcomes in young people, focusing on two communities in North Yorkshire.
  • Uses qualitative and participatory arts-based methods.
  • Runs from October 2022 to March 2024.

Although there is a clear link between young people’s mental health and the emotional support they receive from their families, there are currently gaps in the evidence on how this support can lead to positive or negative mental health outcomes, and the impact of wider social and economic factors.

This project run by the University of York unpacks how social and economic factors shape a family’s capacity to mobilise, consolidate and redistribute the necessary resources (financial, emotional and caring) to protect its younger members.

The project focuses on the perspectives and experiences of people aged 16–25 years in two communities in North Yorkshire: a rural coastal area experiencing social and economic deprivation (Scarborough) and a more affluent urban community (City of York).

The research design ensures that differences in socio-economic status, as well as gender and ethnicity, are equally represented across both localities. It compares how economic, social, cultural and environmental factors intersect with differing spatial contexts, and how these contexts shape families’ abilities to provide emotional support to young people.

The project uses qualitative and participatory arts-based methods, including interviews with young people, focus groups with agencies that support young people and arts-based participatory workshops. The project also recruits young people from youth-led organisations as co-researchers, giving ‘voice’ to young people who are often marginalised from the mechanisms that shape policy and practice.

Integrating analysis of place-based inequalities with a more holistic perspective of the family will contribute to addressing research gaps and help with the development of local policies, especially those aimed widening health inequalities in North Yorkshire.

Contact details

For more information about this project, please contact:

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