Interviewing young people

At Our Time, we regularly work with young people affected by parental mental illness, and we can help to support your story or article by providing quotes or case studies, or organising an interview.

It’s worth noting that some young people will be sensitive to certain questions, or may not be comfortable discussing all the details of their experience. To keep the interview relaxed and on the young person’s terms, we suggest the following: 

  • Explain how the interview will be used and when it will be published. Try to be specific and answer the young person’s queries or concerns.
  • If possible, give the young person the option of being quoted anonymously or using an alias.
  • Give the young person the opportunity to bring someone into the interview with them for support.
  • Try to make the interview fun or interesting for the young person. This could be by introducing an activity like drawing or playing a game. Our Time can provide suggested icebreakers. 
  • Interview the young person in a safe space that’s comfortable, relaxed and free from distractions.
  • It might be helpful to use a dictaphone so you can fully focus on the interviewee.
  • If you sense a particular topic might be causing distress, check that they are happy to carry on.
  • If a young person is reluctant to discuss a particular issue do not labour the subject –  change to another topic of conversation.
  • Give the interviewee the opportunity to read through the copy before it is published and suggest changes.

It’s also important to carefully consider which images will accompany your story. Young people often face stigma around parental mental illness, and use of a picture that misrepresents the issue or them could be seriously distressing. Where possible, articulate to the young person how visuals will be used before the interview.

If you would like to interview a young person affected by parental mental illness, please get in touch with the communications team at media@ourtime.org.uk.