We have used Mental Health Awareness Week to launch ‘Being Happy Being Me’ our new report into young people’s mental health. In it young people tell us what they think about the language used to describe mental health, what their experiences of services have been and how they would like to get help if they need it.
The Being Happy, Being Me project was undertaken to help local commissioners re-design local mental health services for children and young people.
What we did
We spoke to over 500 young people at four secondary schools in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Around one in seven of the young people who shared their thoughts with us said they'd had experience of using mental health services. And what would help make mental health support work well for them.
The words you use
We found that young people can be confused about the language used to talk about mental health and wellbeing. Words like thriving and resilience were not commonly understood.
They told us more needs to be done to address issues around stigma and encourage young people to understand that mental health is something we all have and need to nurture.
More than half wanted to get information about staying emotionally healthy from an adult they knew or trusted, for example their parents, friends or a professional.
If they needed counselling, most preferred the option of face to face counselling, although there was interest in getting counselling online.
Most strikingly, the quality of the relationship with the person giving support was important to young people. They want to be listened to and respected when they talk to someone about their mental health. There were worries about being patronised.
What teachers told us
Teachers told us they were concerned about how pupils’ mental health problems are sometimes dealt with by local GPs. One child was hearing voices but when they approached their GP, they were told to go back to their school for a referral.
Teachers were concerned about a lack of counselling support available in schools.
They wanted more training to help them better support pupils who were struggling emotionally.
About this project
This project is part of a programme of work with young people to help local health and care commissioners understand what will help young people keep emotionally well and cope with difficulties in life.
It was funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City, Council and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group. They are working together to develop a new way of providing mental health care for young people, called ‘I-THRIVE’. They will be using the information from this piece of work to help inform how services are developed for local young people.