Big questions, exciting ideas, and a delicious cake

Hi everyone,

With half-term leading to depleting numbers, a reasonable turnout managed to traipse their way to Jesus College for an exciting afternoon of brainstorming and cake.

The first item on our agenda was to create potential ‘big questions’ for Oxplore, a nifty project created by Oxford University to engage young people in complex debates surrounding society, ethics, politics, and other big and complex problems, all to try and encourage broader thinking and questioning in the generation of today. The questions are deeply interesting and exciting and I would encourage everyone to check out their website, and immerse themselves in some truly big questions.

During our meeting, we divided ourselves into small groups and embodied the Oxplore spirit to generate a wide variety of difficult, but intellectually stimulating questions, with the aim of eventually proposing some to the Oxplore project. Gradually the questions were whittled down, and the final vote was put to the YPAGgers over an online vote, where we selected our favourites. Oxplore have selected the victor as ‘does social media glamorise mental illness’, and we are all looking forward to seeing this on their website!

After lunch, we divided into two groups, with most of us working on ways to disseminate information from a new report being published about mental health. While the inner contents is all very under wraps, the afternoon was spent dedicating our brainpower to creating dissemination campaign for the ideas, with the aim to target young people all over the world, to bring into focus the importance of mental health and how everyone is entitled to it.

With the aim to make the campaign as global as possible, we were ultimately faced with the near-impossible task of creating something that would reach out on such a large scale. Therefore, we dived in with the attitude of the sky being the limit, creating lists of celebrities who could bolster the campaign, analysing which social media platforms would be most effective in reaching individuals, and considering videos and animations that could be created to help raise awareness.

Some of the group were instead involved in a pilot study on ethics, autism, and genetics as if they were research participants. They were asked to comment on short animated videos, play card games, and answer exciting questions, with the purpose of expressing their views on how genetic information should be used for early intervention in autism.

In other news, it was also a celebratory meeting as the YPAG has won the Oxford Department of Psychiatry award for public engagement. Mid-afternoon, we all took a break for cake to revel in the taste of success, taking half an hour to feel proud of the institution that we are all so delighted to be a part of.

It was an effective and productive day, everyone had a wonderful time!

Thanks everyone,