What is TUBEDU?


Our goal is to produce new theoretical-conceptual information and understanding of the connection between literacy and peer support in young people’s mental health and to create methodological tools that take into account the young people’s context, utilizing collaborative research to study their well-being. Our main goal is to strengthen adolescents’ mental well-being and health literacy.


The project is funded by the Academy of Finland.


The project is divided into four themes, according to the research questions and methods of each theme: 1) Adolescents’ health literacy and well-being-related peer support in the digital environment, 2) YouTubers’ ways of constructing and communicating mental health information, 3) Adolescents’ responses to YouTubers’ mental health messages, 4) YouTubers as a potential source of peer support for adolescents’ mental well-being.

Theme 1: Adolescents’ health literacy and well-being-related peer support in the digital environment     

In the first theme, a systematic literature review and survey will be conducted. In the literature review, we will describe the theoretical models that have been used in previous research connecting peer support and health literacy in the digital environment, such as social media. In addition, we will describe the results of previous research in this area. The survey will focus on the most popular YouTubers among adolescents, as well as adolescents’ views about the knowledge YouTubers convey related to mental well-being and their role in this.

Theme 2: YouTubers’ ways of constructing and communicating mental health information    

In theme 2, by using multimodal qualitative video analysis of national and international vlogs, we will describe how and from what viewpoints YouTubers talk about mental health and what content is most relevant. We will look at YouTubers’ ways of constructing their role as influencers and sources of peer support, as well as their ways of telling about and describing their own experiences of mental health. We will also analyze what kind of instructions or advice YouTubers give in their vlogs. Further, we will describe whether there are differences between YouTubers’ mental health messages according to their gender. At the center of our analysis is the role of individual, social, and cultural contexts and responsibility connected to them, constructed in YouTubers’ mental health communication.

Theme 3: Adolescents’ responses to YouTubers’ mental health messages  

In theme 3, we will use data mining and machine learning. We will describe the interaction activities followers engage in related to YouTubers’ mental health-related vlog content (e.g., likes, dislikes, comments, comments to other followers and shares). We will also describe the most popular and topical mental health-related topics based on the comments. By studying the interaction in the comments section, it is possible to identify silent signals: what the ongoing dominant mental health themes are and what rising themes society can react to early. In addition, different follower groups, their interests, and their change over time will be studied.

Theme 4: YouTubers as a potential source of peer support for adolescents’ mental well-being                         

In theme 4, we will use peer- and co-research. We will describe adolescents’ experiences on how YouTubers and the content they provide may act as a potential source of peer support for adolescents. We will turn our attention to the meanings and functions adolescents give to YouTubers in terms of moral and mental support. In addition, we will describe how the content YouTubers provide acts or doesn’t act as peer support in mental-health-related needs and the promotion of adolescents’ mental health skills. We will also look at how peer-and co-research can help us to understand these questions better.

National and international partners and co-operators

  • University of Oulu, Faculty of Humanities, Unit of Information and Communication Studies
  • University of Turku, Faculty of Medicine
  • Tampere University, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences
  • GameCult Centre of Excellence
  • University of Jyväskylä, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences
  • University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences’ Department of Education
  • Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Equality Uni,  Mental Health
  • NGOs: Youth Mental Health Association – Yeesi; The Association of Finnish Sport andHealth Education Teachers; and Children of the Station, Nyyti ry
  • Technical University Munich (TUM), Department of  Sport and Health Sciences, Germany
  • Germany Queen’s University Belfast, School of Social Science, Education and Social Work
  • University of Münster, Institute for Psychology in Education, Münster, Germany