Young people need more flexible, creative solutions to give them the information and support they need to stay mentally well.
So states Minding Us, a new report from Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which shares more than ninety young people’s thoughts about mental health care and what they want to change. It was part of a project to help local mental health commissioners re-design services for children and adolescents.
The young people Healthwatch spoke to had lots of different experiences that put them at greater risk of mental ill health. Many had had one or more difficult life challenges such as dealing with prejudice, isolation, abuse or a disability. Healthwatch worked with organisations like Link to Change, The Kite Trust and Carers Trust to listen to the views of young people.
The majority of young people wanted to talk to a trusted adult or a friend to get information about mental health. Young people want more awareness of how to stay mentally well, and where to get help and assistance if it was needed.
They need more flexibility over when, where, and how often therapy appointments are held, including some creative options. They mostly preferred face to face appointments in a place that suited their needs, although online and video chat were popular with some.
Emma Amez, Project worker said:
‘This report shows the need to do things differently for young people and those around them to give them the support they need before they reach crisis level.’
‘Young people are telling us very clearly that they need services that are flexible and creative, so they can drop in and get support when and where they need it.’
‘It is important to educate young people and those around them about mental health. We need to break down the stigma of mental illness and say, it is OK to get help if you need it.’
Wendi Ogle-Welbourne, Corporate Director: People and Communities, Peterborough City Council, Chair of the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Board for Children and Young People, said:
‘It is fantastic that young people have been able to tell us what and how they want to be helped with their mental health. The views of young people are important to us as it will help professionals to think about how we commission and deliver services in the future.’
‘It is clear from the feedback from young people that we have to help professionals in universal settings such as schools to understand better how to help young people with mental health needs as they are often the people young people trust and want to talk to.’
If you have an experience of young people’s mental health services, either for yourself or for someone important to you, please tell Healthwatch about it. It is important they hear about your experiences so they can help services to improve. Find out more by visiting www.healthwatchcambridgeshire.co.uk or www.healthwatchpeterborough.co.uk or call us on 0330 355 1285
- For a link to the full story and report, go to: http://www.healthwatchcambridgeshire.co.uk/news/Minding-Us
- It is also available on the Healthwatch Peterborough website here