The MHF Young Leaders

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) Young Leaders is an innovative model that enables young people to work alongside us to address mental health and emotional wellbeing on a national level.

“Being a young leader means being a guiding light in the darkness, helping others find strength and healing within themselves.” – William, MHF Young Leader

It is run in partnership with Leaders Unlocked, a social enterprise focused on youth-led social action that enables young people to influence decision-making.

The MHF Young Leaders project enables young people to shape our work across all departments – including programmes, communication, policy, research and some strategic development. By working in this way we can ensure our work reflects the diverse realities of young people across varying systems and in all stages of development and delivery

“Mental health is a significant issue in society, and I am dedicated to harnessing my experience and passion to drive positive change and support individuals in need.”

– Jayden, MHF Young Leader

MHF Young Leaders outside the office

Who are the MHF Young Leaders?

The project first ran in 2019 and was a huge success. Since then it has grown both in the diversity of its members and the work achieved.

The Young Leaders are a dedicated and talented group of 41 13–24-year-old young people from across the UK, with members from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They reflect the diversity of a range of backgrounds and lived experience including being care-experienced, living with mental health difficulties, being neurodivergent, being young carers, experience seeking refuge and asylum, and living with a long-term health condition. The vast scope of their experiences shapes the project in extraordinary and unique ways.

“The Young Leaders have been invaluable in providing new and fresh perspectives to our work across the key departments of Programmes, Policy, Communications and Research.” - Jane Caro, Associate Director of England, Mental Health Foundation

How do the Young Leaders work together with MHF?

The Young Leaders come together for co-design sessions to explore experiences, challenges, and importantly, solutions and recommendations for the key issues we are seeking to understand. They also work closely with key teams to shape reports and other outputs, as well as supporting facilitation of sessions with MHFs other beneficiaries.

The Young Leaders also lead peer research to gather the insights and experiences of other young people across the country on these issues.

“I feel like I’ve gained a sense of purpose for a lot of my personal mental health experiences, a way to utilise them and turning my own past and present struggles into useful knowledge that can help others who are going through something similar.” - Hadrien, MHF Young Leader

MHF Young Leaders brainstorming

The impact of the MHF Young Leaders on our work

The MHF Young Leaders influence work across the whole organisation. Some of the key areas of work that they have co-produced and influenced:

Was this content useful?