Information for Parents

During the month of October 2021, we are inviting all students who have completed 3rd year of secondary school education in Cavan and Monaghan, to take part in the Planet Youth survey.

The survey involves filling out an anonymous questionnaire about their lifestyles, behaviours and health. The survey will take about 50 minutes and takes place in a classroom setting.

This letter is an information leaflet about the survey. We would be grateful if you would consider reading this letter in full.

At the end of this letter, you can indicate whether you do not wish your young person to take part. If you do not want your young person to take part in the survey, please return this signed form to your young person’s school.

If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you agree to your young person taking part in the survey.

As part of the Planet Youth program, we will send home a leaflet on local services that might be able to help your young person if they are experiences any difficulties identified in the survey.


The purpose of this study is to identify the strengths and difficulties of young people and young people’s communities.

Young people will be asked questions about their lives in relation to a number of different topics. This includes:

• School experiences
• Leisure time
• Friendships
• Sexual behaviour
• Neighbourhood
• Family life
• Stressful life events
• Substance use (Alcohol, smoking, cannabis and other)
• Mental health
• Physical health

This will allow us to plan interventions in your local community to improve the health of your young person and their peers. We do this using an evidence-based model that originated in Iceland. This involves bringing community leaders, professionals, researchers and policy makers together to create targeted changes in young people’s communities and environments to improve their health. This model has been successful in Iceland in reducing the rates of teenage alcohol, smoking and substance use. We will monitor the progress of the interventions over time in surveys in the future.

Type of Research Intervention

This is an anonymous questionnaire-based survey where your young person will be asked a specific question and asked to choose from a number of potential answers (i.e. multiple choice questions).

Selection of Participants

Your young person is invited to take part in this study as they are enrolled in a post-Junior Certificate year and are attending a participating school.

Voluntary Participation

Your young person’s participation in the survey is voluntary. There are no consequences for your young person if they or you so not agree to take part.


Information sessions about the Planet Youth study will be held in schools during September and early October 2021. Your young person will take part in a survey in mid-October. They will fill out a multiple-choice questionnaire on a laptop or desktop computer. . Before they fill out the questionnaire they will listen to a 10-minute video with instructions on how to complete the survey. A teacher from their school will supervise the survey. The teacher will have completed a brief training module on how to supervise the delivery of the survey. Following the survey, we will give your young person an information pack on support services available to your young person in their local area, we will also email this information pack to you via your young person’s school.


The survey takes approximately 50 minutes, or about one class period.

What questions do we ask in the survey?

Some questions contain sensitive information as we wish to identify both protective and risk factors in young people’s lives. Sensitive information includes questions about their mental health difficulties, substance use, self-harm, information about sexual behaviour and stressful life events such as bullying. We do not collect information such as your young person’s name, address, or any information that would directly identify your person, or any difficulties they have experienced to anyone else.

Risks and Discomforts: What if my young person becomes distressed?

For a small number of young people, the survey may bring up stressful issues. This survey contains sensitive questions on sexual behaviours, bullying, alcohol & substance use, self-harm and experiences of violence. Young people commonly experience these issues. We ask about these issues because they have implications for long-term health and wellbeing. Asking young people these questions in surveys is safe and is not known to lead to any harm. We would encourage you to ask your young person whether the survey brought up any stressful issues for them. We will communicate to your young person that they can disclose to a teacher present should a stressful issue arise that they need immediate assistance. Should your young person disclose a stressful event or experience that is occurring for them at the time of the survey and you are unsure about where to get help, you can contact our local Planet Youth lead for more information.


There are potential benefits to both your young person directly, young people in your community in the future and your community more broadly for participating. The results of the survey will be used to develop specific targeted health promotion interventions and service developments within your community that is aimed to improve the health and wellbeing of young people. We give tailored feedback to schools on the overall profile of strengths and difficulties within their school community.


There is no specific payment or reimbursement for participating in this study.


This survey is anonymous. Your young person’s information will not be identifiable in any way. When the data is collected it is transferred instantly and processed at the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis (ICSRA). This is the organisation that developed many of the questions in the survey. Iceland is in the European Economic Area and is subject to the General Data Protection Regulation, therefore your young person’s data is subject to the very similar safeguards in Iceland as it is here. After the data is collected it is transferred electronically to ICSRA. Your young person’s data will be processed at ICSRA, RCSI, the Cavan-Monaghan Education and Training Board only for its intended purposes.

Sharing of Research Findings

The summary results of this study will be shared with you and your young person through an online report on our website in a timely fashion following the survey taking place. This will show the summary results of the survey according to your local electoral area. Schools will be provided with limited summary results of the survey in their school focusing on wellbeing factors related to the curriculum. School level results will not be shared with the public. Schools will not receive any information on individual anonymous survey responses. All data presented and reports will be subject to statistical disclosure controls. Statistical disclosure controls are a set of rules applied to the presentation of data that prevent any potential inference or guessing of young people’s identities. An example of this would be that we would not disclose any summary statistic of less than 5 people. This means that a motivated individual would not be able to infer or guess who a young person might be. Individual anonymous survey responses will be not shared with anyone except for the defined purposes of this research. School names are not shared with ICSRA or contained in the research dataset.

Right to refuse or withdraw

You may choose not to have your young person participate in this study and your young person does not have to take part in this research if they do not wish to do so. Choosing to participate or not will not affect either your own or your young person’s future treatment by any of the services involved in this study in any way, or their school. You and your young person will still have all the benefits that would otherwise be available at the participating– both services and institutions. Your young person may stop participating in the survey at any time that you or they wish without either of you losing any of their rights. If your young person has more than one parent or legal guardian need to agree for your young person to participate.

Data Protection

The purpose of this study is to identify risk and protective factors for adolescent substance use and wellbeing. This data processed in this study is not subject to GDPR as we do not collect any personal information (like your young person’s name or address) and we store the data in a safe format that prevents individual profiling. The joint data controllers (Ms. Maureen McIntyre & Prof. Mary Cannon) and their nominated data processors will have access to the anonymous information. Following initial processing, the data will be stored indefinitely in a secure format and may be shared with scientists, healthcare professionals and researchers for further use on understanding risk and protective factors in young people’s wellbeing. The secure format it will be stored in will prevent any potential identification through profiling. The secure format the data is stored in is called FAIR. This acronym stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable & Reusable. Storing data in this format maximizes the benefits of your young person’s contribution to scientific research on their wellbeing.

The Study Team

The Local study lead is Maureen McIntyre (Cavan-Monaghan Education & Training Board). The Principal Investigator (Research) is Professor Mary Cannon, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Youth Mental Health at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Co-investigators include Dr. Emmet Power (RCSI) & Andy Ogle (Cavan Monaghan Drugs and Alcohol Task Force)

Opt Out Consent Form


Introduction to Planet Youth 

10 steps to implementation:  

Planet Youth Video


The function and importance of partnerships and local teams

Data collection and delivery

Survey Information Video