Exploring co-production of accessible digital mental health tools in collaboration with young people from marginalised backgrounds: A Scoping Review

Carmen Kealy, Courtney Potts, Maurice Mulvenna, Siobhan O'Neill, Gary Donohoe, Jamie McNulty, Alba Madrid-Cagigal, Margaret Barry

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


Despite evidence that digital mental health supports can improve young people’s access to mental health care, guidance on the most appropriate co-production processes for engaging youth in designing and evaluating these technologies is lacking. User input is critical in digital mental health solutions, particularly for marginalised young people who are often excluded from co-production processes.

To explore the extant literature on co-production processes with marginalised youth in digital mental health supports, ranging from mental health promotion to targeted interventions. A scoping review was chosen to map and summarise the evidence and identify knowledge gaps.

The search spanned 12 databases, including studies from 2021 onwards, focused on co-production with young people aged 16-25 in different stages of designing and assessing digital mental health technologies, especially those who are marginalised.

After the screening process, 20 studies were included in the review. Design (n=8) and overall evaluation of the co-design process (n=5) were the primary study foci, with qualitative (n=10) and mixed methods (n=7) dominating the study designs. Most studies utilised human support with a digital component (n=15), while a small number (n=5) used a digital only approach. Promotion/ primary prevention was the dominant study focus (n=16), while four studies addressed targeted interventions. Common study areas included mental wellbeing (n=8), coping/resilience and help-seeking (n=3), followed by interventions addressing stress (n=2), depression (n=2) and anxiety (n=2), but also substance abuse, trauma, and suicide. 8 studies recruited participants through social media, while 6 recruited through health care settings, schools/universities (n=5) or community partners (n=3). In terms of marginalised youth, studies mostly comprised LGBTQ+ (n=12) and ethnic minorities (n=10), and sample sizes averaged 745 in quantitative studies to 22 for qualitative studies.

This review covers the co-production processes of design, implementation, evaluation and overall evaluation of co- producing digital mental health supports with marginalised youth. The review highlights youth involvement primarily in design and overall evaluations, with apps being the type of digital mental health support in 6 of those studies and surveys and workshops the most common approaches to involving youth. Overall evaluation studies predominantly focus on promotion/primary prevention and the LGBTQ+ community. There is a need for more consistent user input from marginalised youth such as those with disability, rurally isolated, unemployed/ out of education and immigrants in not only the design stage, but also during implementation, and assessment of digital mental health supports.

The findings have clear implications for advancing the inclusion of marginalised youth in the co-production of digital mental health supports and ensuring more effective use of digital technologies in youth mental health services.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished online - 2 Jun 2024
EventInternational Society for Research on Internet Interventions - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 2 Jun 20245 Jun 2024


ConferenceInternational Society for Research on Internet Interventions
Abbreviated titleISRII
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring co-production of accessible digital mental health tools in collaboration with young people from marginalised backgrounds: A Scoping Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this