Dr. Ola Demkowicz ‘Why mixed-method research matters’ – In Conversation

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Dr. Ola Demkowicz discusses mixed-method research and how it enables researchers and policymakers to understand the big picture. She discusses her research on the TELL Study (Teenager’s Experiences of Life in Lockdown) which involved 16-19 year olds writing about their own experiences in lockdown.

Ola also discusses how over time our definitions of resilience have changed and the role of circumstance and mitigating factors.

You can listen to this podcast directly on our website or on the following platforms; SoundCloudiTunesSpotifyCastBox, DeezerGoogle Podcasts and Radio.com (not available in the EU).

Dr. Ola Demkowicz
Dr. Ola Demkowicz

Dr. Ola Demkowicz is a Lecturer in Psychology of Education in the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE). She has a professional background working in education, with particular experience in supporting children’s emotional wellbeing and working with families from vulnerable backgrounds. Her research interests are generally centred around child and adolescent mental health, particularly in risk and resilience processes, who is at risk of experiencing mental health symptoms, and why, alongside what factors and processes may mitigate such vulnerabilities. Ola is also interested in gendered mental health patterns and experiences and how these fit into broader societal contexts and expectations. She is an honorary researcher at the Evidence Based Practice Unit, and teaches on MIE’s MEd Psychology of Education.

Transcript

Interviewer: Hello, welcome to the ‘In Conversation’ podcast series for the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health or ACAMH for short. I’m Jo Carlowe a freelance journalist with a specialism in psychology. Today I’m interviewing Doctor Ola Demkowicz. Lecturer in psychology of Education at Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester. Ola has worked on the TELL Study which stands for Teenager’s Experiences of Life in Lockdown.

If you’re a fan of our ‘In Conversation’ series please subscribe on iTunes or your preferred streaming platform. Let us know how we did with a rating or review and do share with friends and colleagues. Ola, thank you for joining me. Can you start with an introduction?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: Sure, but first thank you very much for having me. I am Doctor Ola Demkowicz. I am a lecturer in Psychology of Education and within that I do research into child and adolescent mental health with a kind of focus on mechanisms and kind of risk and resilience processes within mental health symptomatology during that time and as I said I’ve led on some recent research that is exploring, kind of, the context of lockdown and what that means for older adolescents in terms of their experiences and well-being during this time. So again that kind of contextual looking at what does the environmental actually mean for our well-being and trying to understand some of the mechanisms behind that.

Interviewer: What prompted your interest in child and adolescent mental health?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: A blend of things actually. So before I came to do a PhD or to kind of continue in academia I did work professionally in education settings. So predominantly in early settings, but also in primary schools and secondary. A little bit of secondary schools doing work as a practitioner in education. So I mostly worked with younger children which is not what I focus on. I do research and most of my research has been adolescents, but I did do a lot of work with vulnerable families and I always had very strong interest in the kind of emotional and behavioural lives of children and worked quite closely with children who were exhibiting, kind of, difficulties in that area.

So who were having a hard time with emotion regulation for instance or kind of other behavioural elements. So I’d always been kind of interested in what underpins those kinds of emotional behaviours among children and that kind of blend of working with young children with emotional difficulties often within vulnerable families is very much a driver for me in terms of looking at mental health.

There’s also I think elements of personal experience for myself. Like a lot of people in this area I myself have experienced poor mental health. I experienced a range of mental health difficulties during my adolescence. So I do research sort of with an expert by education but a little bit of an expert by experience. That kind of I think feeds into the decision making around what I want to look at and what I find of interest so really wanting to, you know, there’s a level of academic interest in these things. It’s interesting to understand.

I enjoy doing analysis. I enjoy all of these things but I think a lot of what drives me in this area of research is wanting to, kind of, make a difference and being able to contribute to things that can make people’s lives better. So it’s very much it feels like an ethical responsibility.

Interviewer: Ola, you’re a mixed-method researcher. So you blend multiple methods. What’s the advantage of that?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: There are endless advantages of that. Tell me to stop talking if you need to because I could talk about mixed methods research and why it’s brilliant all day, but particularly why it’s brilliant for child and adolescent mental health, mental health especially in that group it’s so complex. It’s so complicated. This is such a nuanced, not just experience but the kind of patterns that we see and there’s just so many things happening and no single method, whether it’s quantitative or qualitative or even a single qualitative method or a single quantitative method there is no approach that is going to tell us everything that we need to know.

We have to be willing and able to be pragmatic and to explore that evidence or explore those phenomena in a way that reflects the complexity of it. So we need to bring to the table lots of different tools because there are lots of different things we need to learn and understand. So there’s that kind of idea of reflecting that complexity and each method bringing a piece of a puzzle. So it being what we call complementarity within methods with a mixed methods where the idea is that each question that we’re asking using a different tool can tell us something different and put together those things.

Create something bigger. They create a bigger set of knowledge than we might have had otherwise. There’s definitely elements of where I’ve seen that where we learn more from putting them together. So in my PhD thesis that was mixed methods using very, very different methods from kind of opposite ends of the spectrum. I used an approach called IPA, which is very interpretative. It’s exploring lived experience among a small group of people, but I also had structural equation modelling looking at 8,000 people, looking at patterns among those and one of the things that I took away from that was that some of the language that we were using wasn’t quite different doing justice to some of the complexity.

So we talk about risk and risk factors and who is at risk, but that kind of labels a group and I know that’s been talked about in another things but it was definitely something that felt very, very strong in the work that I was doing in my PhD of this is not capturing the messiness of that and it worked when we’re doing statistical language to say someone is at risk. Someone is more vulnerable, but it doesn’t feel like that in life. It feels like there is a pressure on you. You are stressed and so things become more difficult. You’re not at risk.

You’re facing a complex net of demands and we’re potentially overlooking that when we call it risk, and I think yeah capturing that individual level experience versus the group, one method overlooks the individual because it’s focus on patterns and the other method is overlooking what’s happening in many and we need both of those pictures. We need to understand both. What’s happening for individuals and also patterns across groups.

Interviewer: And as you mentioned earlier your research focuses on risk and resilience processes in children and young people and I noticed in one study you asked what do we mean when we talk about resilience? So I’d like to put the same question to you.

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: Resilience and what resilience is has changed and what we understand resilience to be has changed so dramatically because the original thinking was that resilience is a trait. It’s almost like a superhuman thing that some people can do and other people well they just can’t. They just can’t do that. They just can’t bounce back. You know as if there’s some people made of elastic and that was the original, some of the original discussion that was happening way back around resilience.

In terms of the way we understand that concept from a research perspective that has definitely moved along substantially. So we now recognise that resilience is not something that any single person has. It is dependent on what you have available to you. So no person is resilient to everything at every point in their lifespan. It’s going to depend on what they have access to at that time, and so resilience is not a trait. It’s an outcome.

The outcome is really to adapt despite substantial difficulty, but that process of adaptation is still challenging because what we understand it to mean is that there are everyday factors, like having a supportive parent. Feeling part of a community. Those things can be meaningful in allowing you to still be okay in the context of very difficult circumstances sometimes, but unfortunately I think one of the challenges that kind of has prevailed and how we talk about resilience is that that is not reflected.

Resilience has become a word that is increasingly used. I think it’s used at a societal level. We talked about being resilient. It’s used in policy. It’s use in education. Unfortunately the emphasis is often on individuals being tough, being hard-skinned, being able to bounce back and we sometimes lose this kind of focus that’s come through in recent years around resilience is a thing that can happen for people if they have things that they can access and I think that’s one of the things of defining what resilience is gets messy because is it about having thrived in a difficult circumstance or is it the process of overcoming and there’s this still different perspectives on that, but the main, kind of, point being resilience is not the responsibility of an individual.

It’s the responsibility of systems around it or around that individual. So it’s not a 13 year olds responsibility to cope on their own and be resilient to incredibly difficult circumstances. It’s, you know, we need to be asking what we can put in place and what we can remove in terms of demands to be able to allow somebody to do well in that circumstance or in an improved circumstance.

Interviewer: Your research on resilience focuses on who is at risk of experiencing mental health symptoms and the factors mitigate such vulnerabilities and you’ve already touched on some of that. Can you say some of kind of broader takeaways from this work?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: Definitely this kind of talk about who is at risk it’s really important that we understand who is a risk. You know, there are people who are disproportionately likely to experience certain symptoms based on the evidence we have which is sometimes flawed. I feel like I should be very clear about that.

As an example my research has partly focused on the fact that we understand girls and women to be more likely to experience depression and anxiety, but we don’t know that our evidence isn’t biased entirely by measures and what we’re asking and what language were using and the way that we teach girls and boys to talk about their feelings. It may well be that there isn’t actually that much of a difference. It’s just that the way we’re asking the questions is wrong but you know we do need to be understanding who is at risk because we need to understand how we can reduce that risk.

A really key thing for me has been understanding, yeah, who is at risk of what difficult outcomes, but also why. I think that’s a really big point of interest for me is it’s all well and good to say, you know, women are more likely to be depressed. That’s not helpful unless we try and understand the reasoning behind that because there’s little we can do without understanding those mechanisms. So a really, really big point of interest in my own work is understanding the mechanisms by which those symptoms emerge.

Some of the work I’ve done is looked at the role of stress within that and what I had found that analysis with repeating it at the moment with some different approaches in place to make sure it’s as robust as we can make it. So it won’t be out anytime immediately, but certainly that stress seemed to play an enormous role in the relationship between being exposed to a network of adversity and having depressive and anxious symptoms in adolescence for girls. So it’s not that you are at risk and spontaneously, poof, you have symptoms. It’s that you are at risk because you are experiencing a whole network of demands as part of your daily life. So life is overwhelming. It’s difficult to cope with you.

You don’t feel equipped to be managing this. As a result you are going to experience the distress and anxiety. So it’s that kind of thinking of who is at risk but why are they at risk and understanding what is it that’s risky essentially. Similarly within that the kind of looking at the factors that mitigate that. So again what is it that’s supporting resilience for young people who are experiencing lots of exposure to lots of different things that we understand to be demanding and stressful? Part of my general thinking is that some of that could be avoided in the first place if we had better policies in place.

If austerity wasn’t a thing. Child poverty that we saw in this country was lower then probably we wouldn’t have so many of these difficulties because life wouldn’t be as stressful. So there’s an element of having to say well there’s factors that can mitigate those vulnerabilities, but there’s also factors that we should be taking away in the first place to make it easier to be a young person. The work that I’ve done around what can be supportive for young people who are experiencing lots of difficulties. It definitely does seem to be as has been talked about by people far more experienced than me that it is about access to everyday factors.

So it is about having access to supportive parents. It is about feeling that there are people you can turn to and talk with and feel, you know, that you trust and that they understand and that peers are really important. You know, the work I’ve done is around adolescents peers are critical in that time. So it does seem that actually having meaningful connections with other people your age certainly seems to be very meaningful if you’re experiencing kind of demands as part of your life.

Interviewer: Ola, in your introduction you’re co-author of the TELL Study. What can you tell us about this important study?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: This year has gone very differently. We’re not doing research. We didn’t think we were going to be doing and Tell Study was one of these. So we were seeing as Covid occurred, as lockdown occurred, as this process kind of began we were seeing a lot of studies coming through that were wanting to capture mental health and there has been a really impressive amount of research happening. One of the things that we saw early on and has certainly continued is that there is limited qualitative work happening. It does seem to be picking up a little bit but most people have focused on, kind of, population monitoring. That’s really important but we also need to understand the context because this is a totally new thing that’s happening.

It’s very difficult to make sense of a statistical relationship between two things right now when we don’t actually know what they mean in people’s lives, and we were particularly concerned about the impact that this might have far, I mean all children and young people and I think we’re definitely seeing that in the evidence and the kind of concerns that are being raised that this is creating a lot of mental health and well-being concerns for everybody, but especially children and young people and some other vulnerable groups. We were interested in learning from older adolescents. So we focused on the experiences of 16 to 19 year olds. We were interested in the fact that this is a group who is normally experiencing more independence than they might have had previously.

They’re making decisions about their future. They’re figuring out, you know, what job are they going to go into next year or are they applying for University. You know all of these different decisions they would be making and we were interested in understanding better what was happening for them. So we set out to speak to 16 to 19 year olds and we wanted to get that qualitative perspective of what life is like for them right now. So we set up an online space where young people could tell us about their experiences in writing.

So to kind of provide a reflective space where they could give us their account in their own time, rather than it being an interview where they needed to kind of talk. So we gave them some questions around that to kind of try and understand what lockdown looks like for them, because it’s not maybe the same for everybody and that’s certainly what we’re seeing come through and also what it feels like and how they’re managing that just to get a sense of, kind of, coping strategies as well.

We had just over 100 young people complete towards the end of May. So just as some of the lockdown measures I think we’re beginning to ease, where they were beginning to encourage people to go back to work. Most of those are girls.

Interviewer: Okay.

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: Yeah, this is one of the things that we think it’s really important that we want to be really clear about which is that we have a certain type of participant and, you know, we did recruitment through lots of different avenues and we did try and counter some of that but we’re very aware that not only were girls not comfortable sharing in that way, but we think it likely that there is a certain type of personality of person that feels comfortable going on and reflecting and writing. We did have some people get in touch with us to say well my child really wants to tell someone about their experiences but, yeah, they’re not going to write about it. You know, there’s a certain level of engaged and perhaps even more organised young person who might be doing that.

So I think it’s very likely that the findings that we have are affected by that because, you know, some of the things we’ve seen for example, they a lot of them described kind of setting up new routines for themselves. We don’t know that everybody would find that useful. It might just be that the type of person who fills in a reflective work about their experience is perhaps more likely to be structuring their day.

There’s a lot of data from a lot of young people that’s kind of that rich daily experience within that.

Interviewer: What sort of things have emerged so far from TELL?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: We’ve released one briefing and we’re in the process of preparing the main briefing. So the first one we released was a piece of work where we shared the advice that young people gave to each other. So at the end of their reflective account we asked them if they had any advice for other teenagers and they put so much thought and effort into those. We were really impressed with it and we shared it in a briefing. So we released a piece of work that is essentially entirely written in our participants words. We’ve just organised the information in a way that’s accessible. Things like creating a routine can be helpful. You know being kind to yourself seems to be a really important thing that young people felt was important. Keeping in touch with other people and reaching out if you needed help.

So there was that kind of advice side of things of what they felt was helping them and might help other young people which we were really pleased to be able to share and we’ve had a good response from which is nice to hear.

It’s providing usefulness. We went through social media, but we’ve also sent it around some secondary school and college networks and it’s gone out via some charities I believe. Some CAMHs groups have picked it up. So we kind of went through quite a grassroots trying to go out to different groups. I think it’s had about 1,000 downloads in this first and it’s been about a week and a half and we’ve had some positive feedback from young people and from families and professionals that have been using it in that in that way.

The main briefing was a few headlines. I mean, there’s so much happening. I’ll try and not talk for days, but the headlines that we’re seeing come through young people are feeling a lot of emotions during lockdown and I think that’s unsurprising. I think many people feel that way but there’s an element of that being quite overwhelming at times. There’s a lot of emotions. They’re intense. They don’t always know how to attribute them. So they’re feeling very irritable, very upset. They don’t totally understand why that’s very confusing and it’s very stressful. So there’s elements of this being a very emotionally challenging time.

A really huge thing that actually I found quite sad to read sometimes is the sense of loss and uncertainty that’s happening. So they really feel their lives have changed, not everybody, but a lot of young people felt that their lives had changed dramatically in a lot of ways. Even if some things stay relatively stable and there’s a sense of missing out on things. Of missing out on kind of normal teenage experiences. You know, they didn’t get to take the exams. They didn’t get the last day of school. They didn’t get prom. They’re not going to get Fresher’s Week. They seemed too often view those as necessary sacrifices.

It’s not like they were angry about it, but they were sad about it and they felt that they were missing out on things that were special to them. Normal things everybody else got but there’s also concern about the future. Many of the young people we spoke to because of the age range we spoke to many of them were A level and GCSE students who were no longer doing A-Levels or GCSEs and many of them expressed concern. Another is kind of research happening around the implications of that and how young people feel about that and I don’t think our findings are that dissimilar that young people felt they had some control taken away from them. Especially they were young children who talked about young people, who talked you know, they’ve not done very well on their mocks.

So they’d really worked to up their game and now it’s not going to matter. They’re going to do badly or their teacher, you know, they really wanted to show their teachers what they could do because their teachers don’t believe in them and now it’s that teacher who’s deciding for you. So there’s the real elements of loss there and loss of decision making for the future. Young people who just don’t know. You know, they’re concerned they’ve missed out on things that would have helped them in applying for university, work experience, things like that, but they’re also concerned about viability of the job market moving forward.

I know we had at least one young person say well, I really wanted to work in catering. How is that going to happen now? So there’s elements of a real sense of loss among this group that is quite challenging but within that, you know, there were things that they were, I think one of the key things that we found that you wouldn’t get from some of the statistical stuff that’s happening is they felt like this was a time that gave them a break from how stressful life can be. Not for everybody. Some young people are in very, very difficult home lives and this has been very challenging but for many young people this has been a kind of slow down time and it might sometimes be boring but you know it’s the least stressed they’ve been because they don’t have to do school work in the same way and they don’t have to worry about social pressures.

They don’t have to worry about, somebody said I don’t have to worry about saying the right thing or wearing the right thing. It’s such a relief and then they’ve had time to themselves and to learn about themselves and to explore what they want and to learn new skills and this has been a kind of period of growth which is really interesting and I think, you know, an area where we need to recognise that lockdown has brought challenges but it’s also brought opportunities to kind of think in new ways.

Interviewer: When you talked about sharing the findings, is that accessible online. Is there a link you can share?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: It’s going to be. So the advice document I can share a link for. The main briefing we are just finishing writing off and I suspect that will be out in early to mid-august. I can share a website space that it will be on. We’ve got a kind of central TELL sort of home page and if people go on there there’s a space where it kind of says ‘coming soon’ and that’ll be there.

Interviewer: You’ve touched a little bit on how the findings will be used, but I wondered if you could talk a bit more.

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: We’ve seen a few studies that are speaking with young people in this way. Though again they’re emerging but most research has been statistical. So there’s limited understanding of young people’s perspectives during this. We’re hoping that this can help to complement some of the larger scale research that’s happening. It’s all well and good if we can monitor rates of well-being, but we need to understand what might be influencing low well-being, if that is indeed the case. So there’s elements of being able to understand the wider evidence based together where we feel that this could be helpful. There’s also I think considerations for professional’s mental health and well-being professionals, especially as we’re looking at for instance young people going back into schools.

Young people beginning university for the first time this year where we feel that our findings could be useful to, kind of, pastoral teams in thinking about what they might want to focus on because there’s all this talk of kind of a recovery curriculum and that including kind of emotional and mental health points and wellbeing points. Working through some of these points of uncertainty. For example, talking about this loss. Talking about the concerns for the future. Having a space where they can talk to somebody about that and hear more about how they might cope with that will be important we feel.

But only talking about, you know, what you want to take forward from lockdown or what you, you know, trying to find the positives and finding those spaces. There’s also elements of we are still in our version of lockdown. We may well have future lockdowns from this pandemic or others. There’s certainly going to be local lockdowns and there has been already.

We’re hoping that these findings could be useful in thinking for families, for young people, for professionals working with them about thinking about how to manage that should it happen again. So things like we can have a better expectation of what that experience might look like, but we can also think about the things that can make it more positive. For example, a really big finding for us was having a sense of togetherness is important. That might be with your family. It might be with your friends, but it also seems to be a community and a national level. Feeling that you’re in this together is in

Feeling that you’re in this together is important for being able to cope with and kind of cognitively make sense of what’s happening. So things like emphasising that in messaging and in conversations with young people could be really useful in making this less, feeling less personally stressful, I think, and then those kind of considerations around how this might feed into elements of policy making, decisions in terms of things like young people are very concerned about the future job market.

There has been some provision and some discussion of how that might be boosted, but it’s been limited and they’re already ditching this whole 50% of young people going to university ideas. That doesn’t seem ideal given that young people are concerned. The other point for us is that several young people are not happy with how little they’ve been considered in the decision making and I know that there are many campaigns, or rather one central campaign with lots of people feeding in trying to encourage the government to speak more with young people and to consult with young people because they’re not able to submit questions if they’re under the age of 18 and there’s been little deliberation of their needs. We had participants who are very frustrated.

They’re not being consulted with or thought about and there’s frustration with that and mistrust in how equipped the government is to be giving guidance as young people saying they don’t trust how well the government is going to safeguard them in education in the future. How are they going to safeguard them economically? So there’s definitely, we feel that some of these findings can be fed into policy and decision making and encouraging the government to hear young people and accept that young people have valid concerns about their future.

Interviewer: So how does one go about translating research into policy development?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: Historically communication lines aren’t always open as fully as you want. Researchers aren’t always very good at feeding that forward and people aren’t always equipped to take things on board. For instance, you know I work in education research often there’s not a lot of embedded approaches to actually communicating with teachers what we’re learning, even though it often relates to things that they’re doing and that’s as a field, not common on university. There are more and more avenues for doing this.

We have avenues through the University for Policy Development. We’re looking to set up an event for practitioners and policymakers where we can share our findings at the end of the summer but it is thinking about, kind of, creative ways we can do that. So we want to make sure that we have a briefing that is directly considering what this might mean for practitioners. We want to engage with key policy platforms. We’ve done some feeding into documents that are being sent to the Health and Social Care Committees as an example.

So it is very much about kind of trying to get through as many platforms and networks and have as many conversations as we can and think about how we can reach different people and encourage this to be one of many pieces of information that’s being used.

Interviewer: Can you explain why evidence based research is so important when it comes to helping young people’s mental health?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: I think ultimately there’s an element of if we’re going to be making decisions about what we can do to better the lives of people then what we want to do is make sure that those are meaningful decisions. Are actually going to achieve what we want and evidence supports us in doing that, and I think there’s elements of what we mean when we talk about evidence based research because people have different ideas about evidences.

So there’s elements of having this nuanced evidence base that can capture group level patterns as well as individual experiences, but there’s also things like people with lived experience have really important perspectives to contribute and we can view that as evidence and should view that as evidence. Similarly, you know, you’ve got practitioners, you know at the coalface on the ground floor doing this work with people and figuring things out and finding out over time what works for them.

This is all evidence that we need to put together to make informed decisions so that the resources, the time, the effort that we’re putting in to supporting children and young people’s mental health is going to be as effective as we can make it.

Interviewer: What else is in the pipeline then that you’re working on?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: Yes. So I have some further things coming out or that we’re working on in the hope of coming out in the next year or at least being submitted to journals in the next year. Whether that means they’ll be out this year is not going to happen, but certainly huge pieces of work. Again, as I said earlier we’re doing some work around looking at the role that stress plays and the emergence of depression and anxiety among young people who are at risk. So that’s a piece we’ll be working on. I’ll beginning work on kind of furthering that analysis. That I think is really an exciting piece of work for me because it is around understanding that mechanism.

It’s trying to fit in a piece of that puzzle. Another piece of work that’s similar looking at the role that emotion regulation plays in terms of depression, depressive and anxious symptoms. So how meaningful are your relationships and how does that sit into emotion regulation? Does having better emotion regulation mean you are likely to have better relationships and does that in turn reduce symptoms or is it that having better relationships is going to support you in regulating your emotions and that’s going to be useful?

So again there’s some work coming up for us that I find really enjoyable and interesting and meaningful around the mechanisms for difficulties. Another piece of work I’m hoping to put in for some funding next year on, is the fact that we understand that adolescent girls are increasing in their risk of emotional symptoms and disorders. So we are seeing consistently across evidence both in the UK and other western and non-western countries that adolescent girls are experiencing more depressive and anxious symptoms and disorder than they used to.

That was partly the focus of my PhD, but I wasn’t looking at that change over time. Just kind of some of the mechanisms within that. One thing I’m hoping to get some funding to do is looking at what adolescent girls actually think is going on because we theorise as researchers about what that evidence is. You know, what is that rise attributable to? Is it about having increased academic pressure? Is it about increased sexualisation of girls as we become more globalised? Is it as is often the case suggested is it about social media which it’s very easy to blame social media.

So one of the things I’d like to do is actually speak with adolescent girls and say well, you know, what do you think is more difficult? What do you think it is that might be making people feel this way because actually we haven’t heard from them and I’d be really interested to hear their perspectives.

Interviewer: Finally, what is your takeaway message?

Dr. Ola Demkowicz: It’s hard picking a message. I think the key thing is kind of as researchers but also anybody working in adolescent mental health, not just from a research perspective, is asking what we can do to make the very messy, very challenging thing that can be life at any point, but particularly adolescents. What can we do that makes that better? So very much how can we improve the lives of young people in a way that’s going to match the kind of diversity and complexity that we see in mental health? You know, what can we contribute to making that better? So for me that is understanding the kind of very messy mechanisms that mean that young people are more likely to experience difficulties at certain times and for certain groups.

Interviewer: Ola, thank you so much. Really fascinating. For more information on Ola Demkowicz please visit the ACAMH website www.acamh.org and Twitter at ACAMH. ACAMH is spelt ACAMH and  don’t forget to follow up an iTunes or you’re prepared streaming platform and let us know if you enjoyed the podcast with a rating or review and do share with friends and colleagues.

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