World Mental Health Day - we share young people's experiences of getting support

Insight into what it's really like for young people trying to access advice and support services in our region to mark World Mental Health Day.
world mental health day

Our recent report on mental health services for young people will now influence a national discussion on services after it was described as an "excellent piece of work." The report contains responses from young people who were trying to get help when struggling with their emotions in times of stress or low periods.

The HWNS Young People Accessing Mental Health Report looked at the support young people receive from inside and outside school and the various types of help available.

Our report came up with ways to improve both the services on offer to young people in North Somerset as well as strengthening the support to teachers.

Its findings will now be looked at by the Mental Health Wellbeing Advisory Group after Jacqui Ford, Group Director at Weston College identified it as an “excellent piece of work.” We made four recommendations, based on the comments received from 89 young people, which are considered to be affordable and achievable.

  • There should be delivery of planned investment into the early help and preventative emotional wellbeing and mental health provision either individually or in groups inside schools and colleges
  • There should be scrutiny of Mental Health provision ensuring what is on offer in schools and colleges is evidence-based psychological therapies, that it is easily available and at times when they are needed most by young people
  • There should be workforce development to provide early intervention workers. In the event that Trailblazer funding continues BNSSG CCG should apply to become a Trailblazer site to establish a pre-CAMHS mental health support team to prevent the escalation of need and reduce waiting list pressure on CAMHS
  • Schools should equip Mental Health Leads with time for training and the knowledge to signpost to pathways of care so that CYP no longer fear they won’t be taken seriously when they ask for help and are given lessons that support their emotional wellbeing.

HWNS Board Chairman Georgie Bigg said: “This is great news and shows that the work Healthwatch does really can make a difference in this very important area.”

HWNS found that nearly 50 per cent of the young respondents said the mental health support they received either didn’t help or only helped a bit, indicating services on offer in many cases didn’t meet their needs or could be improved. The support they received varied quite a lot; in one case a young person had just 20 minutes with a school counsellor, which they felt wasn’t enough to really help (as heard in our video clip voiced by our young volunteer Emma above). Others told us they felt guilty using up space in the counsellor’s busy schedule and in a few cases the support didn’t meet young people’s needs.

Our research into this subject began back in 2018 after our Prioritisation Panel picked up on the fact that young people were not meeting eligibility criteria for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services provided by the Weston Area Health Trust. This meant that often parents did not know where to go to get help for their children and therefore the apparent gap in service provision was recognised and it became part of our 2018 workplan. The resulting report of 89 responses from young people was gathered between December 2018 and March 2019. We captured the experiences of young people when they tried to access some kind of support for mental health in their school or college; where they were signposted or referred, who they spoke to, what their experience was and what they felt could be improved. We would like to thank schools for their invaluable help in distributing the survey and the young people who participated.

Read more here HWNSYoungPeopleandMentalHealth

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