Local young people have their say about mental health

4th September 2017

Students from Weymouth College, together with a group of Poole schoolchildren, will help turn the spotlight on young people’s mental health next week.

Dorset HealthCare is hosting a free day of events at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, open to NHS staff, patients, carers, volunteers and members of the public.

The day will have a focus on children’s and young people’s mental health, including a keynote speech from Prof. Tanya Byron, respected child psychologist and co-host of BBC-TV’ s The House of the Tiny Tearaways.

And local young people will also give their first-hand perspective. A group of students from Weymouth College will take part in a workshop – led by Healthwatch Dorset – asking “what is mental health?” They will discuss what they think the NHS, education and care services can do to help raise awareness of the issue, and the kinds of support young people need.

They will feed back their findings in a multi-media presentation to other guests later in the day. A group of 11-year-old pupils from Oakdale School in Poole will also talk about their involvement with Healthwatch Dorset’s recent “Be Yourself” campaign, which encouraged local young people to talk about their feelings through a variety of art forms.

The day of events will take place on Wednesday, 13 September, and is open to everyone. However, places are limited, so people are asked to book in advance.

Martyn Webster, Healthwatch Dorset manager, said: “This is a great opportunity for children and young people to share their experiences and views on mental health issues, and make a real difference to local services.

“It should make for fascinating listening, and we would urge anyone with an interest in the mental health and well-being of children and young people – including mums, dads and grandparents – to come along and hear what the young people have to say.”

Prof. Byron will head up the rest of the packed agenda. She authored the Byron Review, commissioned by then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown to examine the effects of the internet and video games on child development. And her therapy skills were showcased on the BBC Three reality show, co-hosted with Claudia Winkleman, which provided help for parents struggling to cope with child behavioural problems.

Other events includes the 2017 Dragons’ Den final, where staff pitch innovative ideas for funding to benefit patients; a buffet with performance by the Dorset HealthCare Choir; a look back at Dorset HealthCare’s achievements over the past year, and a look ahead to forthcoming developments.

And the day will end with a celebration of stellar staff success stories across 13 categories in this year’s Heroes Awards.

Trust Chair Andy Willis said: “This year's focus on the health needs of young people will make the event of particular interest to young people themselves, as well as parents and grandparents who would like to learn more about the mental health needs of the next generation.”

Following a lunch for local carers and Trust volunteers, the main agenda will kick off at 2pm. Guests can attend the whole day or just individual events. For more information and to book your place, call 01202 277085 or go to www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/amm