Focus group session with the young people
Having concluded our interviews with young people at JEDelve before Christmas, the UCL research team were now in a position to feedback to the group and come together to generate some ideas together.
The scent of Domino’s pizza attracted the young people back into youth group – this time for a focus group session.
The aim: collectively brainstorm workshop ideas!
First, the researchers hoped to understand the main struggles that the young people faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their feelings towards these struggles.
Various themes came up:
- Acknowledging that mental health and physical health coexist in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle
- Finding it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the face of COVID-19 uncertainties
- Having distrupted sleep
- Feeling stressed about current and future prospects in school and work
- Struggling to find motivation, which leads to procrastination and increased stress levels close to deadlines
- Recognising the thought processes behind procrastination but not knowing how to overcome them
Connecting and Disconnecting
- Having increased screen time due to online school or completing assignments
- Using increased social media to communicate with friends throughout all times of the day
- Knowing when to take a “mental health break” and giving oneself time to process one’s emotions
- Feeling unsupported by academic staff at school regarding future goals
- Uncertain about academic options in university and scared about fitting in
- Finding university a foreign concept (difficult to imagine themselves thriving)
Arts and Movement
- Taking solace in art forms: music, sculpture, poetry, or paintings
- Art as a form of self-expression: writing lyrics or taking photos
- The importance of physical movement such as sports or taking a walk outside in nature as a breather
Overall, we greatly enjoyed the session, which can be aptly summarised by a quote from one of our researchers:
I was incredibly impressed by the conversations we had as part of our focus group. As it was my first visit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I heard many great things from the other research assistants and the teenagers duly delivered. I was taken back by their maturity and intelligence on complex topics. Their passionate debates between whether Maths or English was a particular highlight. Their warmth and willingness to engage is a testament to the work done by JEDelve and I can’t wait to come back for future workshops and to further develop what is an already strong relationship.Eoin
Next Steps: The research team will take into account the interests of the young people and plan out some fun, creative, and engaging workshops. To be revealed soon!