Dorset Mind set out to create a more youth-friendly, accessible, and “youth-proof” approach to their mental health programmes to ensure they remained relevant and engaging for young individuals. Recognising the importance of youth voice and participation in shaping their services and engagement with young people, they turned to Participation People for help in delivering bespoke youth participation training. 

Dorset Mind is a non-profit organisation with a noble mission: to create a community where living with, and talking about, mental health becomes acceptable for everyone. As one of over 100 Local Minds in England and Wales, Dorset Mind is dedicated to providing essential mental health services to its local communities. Their Young People Services (YPS) team focuses on empowering young people aged 11-25 by offering the resources, tools, information, advice, and support to help them live well with good mental health and resilience

Helping Dorset Mind to better understand youth voice and participation practices through a series of training workshops, the Participation People team jumped in head-first to help identify gaps in its current approach to better serve and support young people within Dorset.

A Path to Empowerment: Youth Engagement Training

Enrolling on our bespoke Youth Engagement Training programme, Dorset Mind gained access to Participation People’s Young Consultants and expert team to guide them through a process of “youth-proofing” their strategies. The programme consisted of two sessions:

Session One – Youth Voice, The Why, The How, and the Moving Forward

Exploring the “Why, How, and Moving Forward” of youth engagement through a series of dynamic workshops, the team delved into the vital significance of youth voice, co-creating a definition alongside young individuals and delving into academic theories and practical approaches. Identifying potential barriers and collaboratively devised solutions with young participants, the session empowered the Dorset Mind team with a renewed vigour for youth engagement. Equipped with clear, practical recommendations to improve their practices and strategies, we were able to set the stage for a more youth-friendly and inclusive approach to mental health services with Dorset Mind.

Session Two – Youth-Proof to Future-Proof

The Young Consultants played a pivotal role in this session, working alongside Dorset Mind to review their Active Monitoring service. Split into two parts, Dorset Mind took part in an interactive workshop session, followed by the provision of a full review of their Active Monitoring service delivered by our Young Consultants, co-creating solutions with the Dorset Mind team. This review identified what was working well, what wasn’t, and gaps in practices. Outcomes also included the full planning of webinars for young people waiting between Active Monitoring and CAMHS, with a focus on making them more youth-friendly and engaging.


Outcomes and Impacts

During session one, we made significant strides in enhancing Dorset Mind’s approach to youth voice and participation:

Improved overall strategy for youth voice and participation.

Clear and practical recommendations to improve practice, including updating resources and language.

Upskilled team members in youth voice practices.

Renewed vigour and enthusiasm for their work.

In session two, the momentum continued to build as we worked to make Dorset Mind’s Active Monitoring service more youth-friendly:

Youth-proofed the Active Monitoring service with clear actions and goals for the future.

Co-created webinars for young people, filling the gap between Active Monitoring and CAMHS.

More upskilled team members.

Improved strategy for youth engagement.


Through our Youth Engagement Training, the collaboration between Dorset Mind and Participation People has brought about a transformative shift in the organisation’s approach to youth voice and participation. By embracing a youth-centric mindset, Dorset Mind is better equipped to engage with young people and integrate their voices and perspectives into their practices, services, and strategies. This approach ensures the long-term sustainability of their mission to support the mental well-being of young individuals in the Dorset community.

Now, Dorset Mind is well on its way to creating a more inclusive and effective approach to addressing mental health. One that resonates with young people and empowers them to thrive.

To learn more about our youth participation training capabilities, visit our dedicated website, and get in touch to enrol on one of our transformative training programmes today!


“From the very first phone call with James, we have had an amazing experience with Participation People. The Youth Engagement Training we received was excellent and has really made us think differently about how we look at Youth Voice and Participation.

The Young Consultants were incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We have already put some of the amazing techniques we learned into practice, which has been such a positive experience. We are really grateful to have partnered with Participation People on this journey. Thank you!”

  • Tracey Digby, Waiting Well Project Team Leader, Dorset Mind