rikkibattersbybiopicRikki began working with organisations that aimed to improve the lives of young people just under nine years ago when she started with Save the Children Australia, helping to run activities at family events for refugee children and their families.

For two years, Rikki was one of ReachOut Australia’s Youth Ambassadors, a role which saw her work with other young Western Australians, and Australians, influence the way that the online platform communicates with young people. During her time with ReachOut, she wrote content for their website, which is viewed hundreds of times a day by young people, teachers, parents and professionals.

In August of 2015, Rikki joined Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health’s newly formed Youth Research Council. The YRC’s main purpose has been to work with the research division on ways that young people can be more involved with research as co-investigators. Most notably, through this role Rikki has had the opportunity to lead her own research project.

During February of 2016, Rikki was chosen as one of two youth representatives (along with Tom Wood) to sit on Orygen’s ethics committee. This experience has been fundamental to the changes that Orygen has implemented in the way that young people are consulted on research projects. In addition to Rikki and Tom reviewing ethics applications as part of their roles on the committee, they have been driving forces behind changes to the expression of interest forms stating that researchers must consult with young people before their applications are considered, changes to the protocol, and the development of ways in which young people can be included throughout the research process as co-investigators.

Most recently, Rikki’s work has seen her and Tom be invited to give a keynote presentation at the Society for Mental Health Research conference in December of 2016, which focused on how researchers can form meaningful and collaborative relationships with young people, and involve them in their research in ways other than as participants.

Rikki holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The University of Western Australia, a Diploma of Counselling from The Australian College of Applied Psychology, and is currently doing her honours year in Psychology at Murdoch University and her final year of a Masters in Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne.

Rikki’s current research, some of which forms her thesis, focuses on treatment pressures young people might experience when accessing youth mental health organisations. It aims to fill the current gap in the literature around the way that treatment pressures are designed and measured, and whether the form that service provision take impacts on treatment pressures experienced by young people.

Rikki hopes that IAMYH 2017 will giver her the opportunity to share the experience that she’s gained over the past nine years, and use it to empower other young people to become more involved with their local youth mental health focused organisations and to be advocates for themselves and other young people.