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Thriving - improving young people's mental health

18/05/2016

Cover of Thriving reportChildren and young people want mental health support that is meaningful and relevant to them. This is one of the main messages children and young people have for local mental health organisations, in a new report published by Healthwatch Cambridgeshire.

We are publishing Thriving, our report into children and young people's mental health, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness week 16 - 22 May.

We wrote Thriving to help make sure children and young people are listened to by the people making decisions about mental health services for them. The report is already helping to inform the redesign of local mental health services.

We were asked to do this work to help the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Board for Children and Young People redesign mental health services for children and young people. They are developing a new way of providing mental health and wellbeing support. The Board includes Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council. 
 
We spoke to four local groups of children and young people aged 8 to 20 years, including some young carers. We wanted to find out about their opinions and experiences of mental health, including using mental health services. We also wanted to know what information would help them, and what words they use and understand when talking about mental health.
 
They told us they wanted to see:
  • information provided using words and images that are meaningful to them;
  • stories of how other children and young people have managed different mental health problems; and
  • help to develop resilience; how to ‘bounce back’ after a difficult time.

As part of Thriving, we also made a number of suggestions to help improve children and young people's emotional wellbeing and mental health. This includes:

  • promoting a better understanding of ‘looking after yourself’ and what this means, to help maintain good mental health and well-being;
  • investing in Peer to Peer support;
  • encouraging schools to talk about mental health to their students, as well as it being a core element of their Personal Social and Health Education curriculum; and
  • promoting the value of counselling in schools as a significant investment in helping young people maintain good mental health.
Thriving went to the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Board meeting on 4th May 2016. At this meeting the Board said that the learning points will be incorporated into their plans for redesigning services.
 

Wendi Ogle-Welbourn,  Corporate Director: People and Communities, Peterborough City Council, Chair of the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Board for Children and Young People. 

"The Thriving report undertaken by Healthwatch Cambridgeshire is a good demonstration of how locally we are engaging with children and young people and the information gathered is an excellent resource to inform our work locally in developing emotional health and wellbeing services for children and young people." 

Sandie Smith, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire

"We wanted to thank the children and young people we spoke to, for sharing their opinions and stories of mental health care with us. They were fantastic. Mental health is not always an easy subject to talk about, but we've heard some difficult experiences and been given some excellent advice for service commissioners."  

"It is good to know that what these children and young people told us, is already directly influencing how services are being planned for them. The more we listen to young people, the more services will work for them."

If you have a story to share about children and young people's mental health care, please tell us. It is important that we understand how care is working for people in Cambridgeshire right now. Call us on 0330 355 1285 (local call number), email enquiries@healthwatchcambridgeshire.co.uk or tell us online

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Thriving report.

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