Young people, psychoactive drugs and resilience – 14 May 2020 – Online Resilience Forum

Young people, psychoactive drugs and resilience – 14 May 2020 – Online Resilience Forum

Topic  Young people, psychoactive drugs and resilience: moving from victim blaming to a wider systems perspective – Emily Gagnon

Session Summary  This session s based on research Emily conducted for her PhD that examined young people’s beliefs about new psychoactive drugs (sometimes called ‘legal highs’). Responding to the concerns of young people in Sheffield, the research aimed to support the development of interventions to reduce young people’s use of new psychoactive drugs. While the research took as a starting point traditional approaches to behaviour change that focus heavily on the individual, Emily’s previous work with Boingboing challenged her to consider a wider, less individualistic, perspective. In this session Emily used her research as a case study to look at how behaviour is presented in theory, drug policy and intervention guidelines, and what this means for how we understand who, or what, is responsible for behaviour change and resilience, and why it matters. The session looked at tensions between individual-level and ecological approaches to drug intervention, as well as illustrating how Emily attempted to bring these perspectives together in her own work with young people. Although the session had a focus on theory, it was aimed at a wide audience, including fascinating insights from the young people who took part in the research.

Biography  Emily Gagnon is a freelance researcher and designer who has recently competed her PhD at the University of Sheffield. Emily is passionate about co-productive research and is working with the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre to develop postgraduate training around participatory methods. Emily has an enduring interest in community-based approaches to supporting mental health. It is through her arts-based community work in Brighton that she originally encountered Boingboing and became a member of the Boingboing community. Today her community work continues to focus on resilience and well-being, but with an outdoor, environmental twist as part of her work with Holly Hagg Community Farm in Sheffield. Emily was originally intending to lead a Resilience Forum in Blackpool in March, but this was postponed due to lock down. So we’re delighted that she’s agreed to lead a session online.

Who might be most interested  Academics, practitioners, researchers, students, parents, carers, community workers, volunteers, public sector workers, young people, service users, people with lived experience of mental health problems.

This event took place on Thursday 14 May 2020.

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