A collective autoethnography of coproduction in mental health research by academic researchers and young people in Brazil.
Siston FR., Murta SG., Mendes JADA., Ferreira JA., Santos VHDL., Seabra BTR., de Souza RRA., da Cunha RDO., Pavarini G.
INTRODUCTION: Coproduction of mental health research and interventions involving researchers and young people is increasingly common. However, this model raises challenges, related, for instance, to communication, power and control. This paper narrates-from a collective first-person perspective-the lived experience of coproduction of a digital intervention by institutional researchers and young citizen researchers in Brazil. METHOD: This study employed a collaborative autoethnographic methodology, utilising autobiographical data such as meeting recordings, individual notes and collective guided reflections on the coproduction process. Our analysis focused on challenges and solutions that arose during the process. RESULTS: Throughout the project, we created formal and informal mechanisms for accountability, transparency and fair inclusion of multiple voices. We engaged in mutual capacity-building, invested in building interpersonal knowledge, and implemented practices to reduce overload and promote equitable participation. Through ongoing reflection and readjustment in response to challenges, we progressively embraced more democratic and egalitarian values. The collective care invested in the process fostered synergy, trust, and intergroup friendship. CONCLUSION: Our experience points to the value of creating a space for multiple research identities: the citizen young person and the institutional researcher, both of whom critically reflect on their roles in the research process. Our focus on coproduced care calls into question participation metaphors that represent the process via a single axis-young people-who linearly progress from minimal participation to full autonomy. Instead, our analysis highlights the importance of a social and caring bond that supports the radical co-production of innovative health solutions in contexts of vulnerability.