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A new series of podcasts which delve into emotional and physical health problems faced by young people in Dorset have been launched online across the UK.
Dorset HealthCare has teamed up with Yorkshire-based production company This Is Distorted to record the candid discussion programmes entitled ‘Health Uncovered’, hosted by BBC Radio One DJ and Cold Feet star Cel Spellman.
There are 10 shows in the series, recorded with teenagers in five different towns and cities around the country, and technology giant Apple has uploaded them onto their official iTunes website for download.
Each podcast focuses on a different topic, from online bullying to sexual health, body image to mental health, as well as online grooming and pressures caused by social media.
It’s hoped that, by listening to the 20-minute episodes, young people going through difficult times may find it easier to open up and talk if they hear their peers discussing the same sorts of issues.
Students from Ferndown Upper School and service users from Bournemouth Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) represented Dorset, supported by local school nurses and CAMHS professionals.
Interviewee Maya suffered abuse at a young age and sought help from Bournemouth CAMHS. She felt the podcasts were a good way to tell her story and support others, as well as help herself come to terms with what she went through.
She said: “These podcasts cover so many important issues that a lot of young people experience but are too afraid to speak out about. I hope by sharing my story it will encourage others to find their voice.
“Young people are always on their phones, and it is great that they can access these podcasts at the touch of a button and on the move. If it encourages just one person to seek further support from a health professional then they are having a positive impact.”
Designed particularly for people who like to listen through headphones whilst on the move, users can search “Health Uncovered” in any popular podcasting app, like iTunes, to download or stream the podcasts to mobile devices.
Presenter Cel Spellman, who hosts the Sunday afternoon slot on Radio One and plays Matthew in ITV drama Cold Feet, was delighted to be involved with the project.
He said: “I felt very privileged, and was so moved, to hear such honest, touching and personal stories from the young people involved in the project.
“Young people face all the classic teenage worries and troubles but it doesn’t end there. In the world of social media, current affairs and the internet, this ‘digital generation’ have so much more to deal with. Sometimes these sorts of problems and issues can be misunderstood by our peers.
“Where young people have so much to think about and so much going on it can sometimes feel like it's all a bit too much. This is why it's vital to offer support, but also to listen and talk to one another. That's exactly what this podcast series is all about – giving young people a voice and a platform to be heard.”
Cheryl Wellington, School Nurse Lead for Dorset HealthCare in East Dorset, Christchurch and Purbeck, said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity to take part in such a valuable project for young people, nationally.
“The Pan-Dorset School Nursing Service works to support the health of children, young people and their families. We hope these podcasts help to spotlight the kinds of issues young people face, and encourage others to talk about their own problems.”
You can listen to the podcasts by searching ‘Health Uncovered’ at www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/school-nursing. You can also access them via iTunes.