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Youth Council makes its mark on Europe
23/03/2015

Three young people who work with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust travelled to Rome to share their experiences of mental health issues and the care they received to help shape future improvements across Europe.

Katie Davis, who sits on the Norfolk Youth Council, jetted to Italy on Monday, 16 March, with two colleagues from Suffolk as part of a European Parliament-funded project to improve access to mental health services for young people.

The trio joined others from around Europe at the two-day event, where they took part in a series of workshops looking at accessing help, where to go with concerns and how to make the health service more youth-friendly.

The trip comes shortly after Katie travelled to Westminster to discuss her own experiences of mental ill health with Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, and after she took part in a Question Time-style TV debate organised by the Fixers charity.

"The trip was fantastic and gave us the opportunity to help shape the way services develop across the whole of Europe," said Katie, 21, who lives in Norwich and has received ongoing support from the Trust after being diagnosed with depression six years ago.

"It was really nice to hear about the things which are happening in other countries. For example, there are houses in Belgium which are staffed by mental health professionals and give young people the chance to get away from it all. That seems a really good idea and something I’ll take back to the Youth Council.

"Others talked about education programmes taking place in schools to destigmatise mental health, which is a key interest for me and linked in closely with my Westminster visit a few weeks ago.

"To be invited to three such high profile events in such a short period of time is fantastic as it shows that people want to hear our views and are listening to us. It makes me proud to think that we are influencing what is happening elsewhere in the world."​