Blazing the Trail in Participation
How are mental health services across the country building the participation of children, young people and family into their work? Amplified Youth Advisor Jacob shares what they found at the Amplified Trailblazers celebration.
Back in February 2019, I got to join YoungMinds at their Amplified Trailblazers celebration event at The Lift, a healthy living hub for young people in North London. We saw presentations about some of the fantastic work the Trailblazers have been doing since we first met them all.
NHS England and YoungMinds staff came together with professionals, parent advisors and experts by experience representing a group of services from across the country, to celebrate their participation work. During the day we heard from a range of 2018/2019 Trailblazers who successfully applied to join the Trailblazer scheme.
Funded and supported by NHS England, Amplified is a multi-year programme to support and build participation in every part of the children and young people’s mental health system. Which means the participation of children, young people and their families in the commissioning, design and delivery of the mental health services they use and the participation of children, young people and their families in decisions about their individual mental health, care and treatment.
Throughout the day, I got to speak to most of the representatives from the services in attendance and these are standout quotes I got from them.
Sarah Haigh of Kent County Council made a great point about younger children participation: “Having accessed the services as a parent with a younger child in the service, the expectation is that you will either translate or talk on behalf of your child - where actually it's really important from the ground up that the resources [surveys] we use are child-friendly, so they're not relying on a parent to actually understand them.”
Expert by experience for Derbyshire CAMHS, Leanne, let us into a secret to smashing those time expectations: "With participation, if you think something is going to take like two weeks, double it then add a few days and then you're about right"
I also got to speak with the Norfolk team about the geographical issues they faced as their time as a Trailblazer: "It limits the amount of people we get to speak to, so we're thinking about trying to Skype people or go out to where they are, but it's a big county"
Finally, I spoke to Rosa, a Peer Advocate for Camden Council about mental health trailblazing in the youth justice setting and what she would like to personally achieve in terms of participation by the end of 2019 in her services, to which she responded: "personally I want to go to panel meetings and meet the young people first so if they want me to, I can go in with them and speak for them if they're feeling too overwhelmed to speak.”
Kathryn Pugh MBE (Deputy Head of Mental Health, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Programme Lead), who leads the program that's supporting children's mental health services to change and improve, told me after the event that she thinks "participation is absolutely crucial, it's crucial for children, young people and parents to be able to participate in their own care and the experience of their treatment."
"I also think it's really important that they can feed into the services they use and to help them develop. They also need to feed into how we're trying to change services at a national level, so for us, it's really important to have them involved in policy development but also how we implement those policies. So we look to young people and parents to keep us on track"
The event was very special, seeing all these professions come together and share their journeys to better embedding participation into their services!
I can't wait to see them all grow!
Jacob, Amplified Youth Advisor