Online museum project aims to help young people improve their mental health


n online art and culture museum is being designed by young people as part of a trial to improve mental health.

About 1500 young people aged 16 to 24 participate in the Origin project (Optimizing cultural experiences for mental health in underrepresented young people online) of Oxford University.

Participants include people with an LGBT+ background, autistic people, people from ethnic minorities, people from disadvantaged areas of the UK and people in health service waiting lists for mental health care.

The online arts and culture intervention aims to reduce anxiety and depression, the researchers said.

Professor Kam Bhui, van Oxford university and co-leader of the program, said: “There is enormous potential for creative and digital methods to authentically capture young people’s experiences and co-design interventions to prevent ill-health.

“There is a huge treatment gap that we hope to fill.

This exciting project gives us the opportunity to work with diverse young people on their own terms to co-design an intervention that engages and believes young people

“Origin complements other pioneering programs in the Department of Psychiatry on the creative arts as an empowering intervention for young people.”

Dr. Rebecca Syed Sheriff, an NHS consultant psychiatrist and senior clinical researcher at the University of Oxford who also leads the programme, said: “Most mental health problems start before age 25, but young people are the least likely to receive mental health care, with some groups such as ethnic minorities even less likely.

“Much of the support currently provided by health services, such as medication and talk therapies, is inaccessible and unacceptable to many of the young people who need it most.

“Online support can be more accessible and this exciting project gives us the opportunity to work with diverse young people on their own terms to co-design an intervention that young people engage in and believe in.

“This program could have important implications for how arts and culture are used to improve the mental health of young people in the future in a way that is attractive and accessible to diverse groups.”

Helen Adams, from the University of Oxford Gardens, Libraries And Museumscollaborating on the project said: “Museums strive to create safe and inclusive spaces, both in person and online, but know that they are not always seen as accessible or relevant by many young people.

“We are very excited to be part of this project to challenge the way we work and to learn more about the ways that art and culture can help enrich and improve the mental health and well-being of young people. improving, potentially encouraging lifelong involvement. ”

The £2.61 million research project is organized by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).