Generation Scotland

Why Volunteer for Health Research? 12-15 year olds

There are many great reasons to help improve health and well-being in Scotland

We know that many young people are concerned about their own health and the health of those around them. The Lockdown Lowdown survey completed by 2,400 young people like yourself in Scotland during the pandemic found that 77% of them were concerned about their own mental health but most didn’t know how to improve things. TeenCovidLife also showed that young people had an appetite to be involved in future health research. Well, the exciting news is that for the first time ever, Generation Scotland can now involve 12-15 year olds in medical research allowing scientists and researchers to find out more about mental health and other health conditions, which could lead to cures.

Existing volunteers who are all currently age 16 or over, make a massive difference by providing health information through questionnaires, saliva samples and allowing access to medical records, but there has been a gap in this knowledge around health data for your age group. So far knowledge gained from the 25,000 volunteers has led researchers to make significant discoveries concerning heart disease, stroke, diabetes, mental health, Covid-19 and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as identifying genes which may be linked to gallstones and liver disease. Imagine how much more we could learn with your help.

How to join if you are 12-17 years old?

If you are aged 12-15 and wish to become a volunteer your parent or guardian must sign up first. This is to make sure that they are happy with the process and system and can decide if it is suitable for you, as every young person is unique. We will also make sure that they understand that your involvement is confidential and for research purposes only, rather than diagnosis or treatment for any conditions. They will not see any of your answers or results. By having both you and your parent/guardian (and other family members if they wish to join) it will help us to build up a bigger picture around your family health. If this is something you really want to do, please have a discussion with your parent or guardian.

If you are 16 or 17 you can now sign up yourself without your parent or guardian’s consent.


What happens next?

Once your parent/guardian becomes a volunteer (if you are aged 12-15), they can then invite you to join. It is important to note that you can choose not to join if you decide you do not want to be a volunteer. The choice is always yours.

The process is so easy that you can now become a volunteer from your own home rather than visiting the doctors' surgery.  Don’t worry it doesn’t involve needles, probes or swabs. Instead we will contact you directly asking you to:

  • Read the approved volunteer information (which tells you what you’ll be asked to do, and why).
  • Provide your consent to take part (agreeing to what you'll be asked to do).
  • Complete a questionnaire which takes approximately 20 minutes, with the option to sign up to future research projects.
  • Complete a “spit kit” (basically spitting into a bag) which you then return to us.


You don’t even need to speak to doctors and dentists. As long as you consent for us to see your records, we will follow it up with them on your behalf. 

Help us make Scotland better tomorrow by becoming a Generation Scotland volunteer!