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Youth council to share ideas at Westminster
05/04/2016

Young people with first-hand experience of mental ill health will visit Westminster next week to feedback ideas for further improving services while sharing best practice from around the globe.

Around 12 members of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) Youth Council will meet Luciana Berger MP, Shadow Minister for Mental Health, on Tuesday, 12 April.

They will talk about the best practice they picked up from around the world while at the International Association for Youth Mental Health (IAYMH) conference last October, where they gave a presentation on mental ill health from a young person’s perspective.

The group will also focus on early intervention, how to involve young people in policy development and the importance of government departments working together to improve young people’s mental health.

The visit has been arranged after members of the group originally met with Ms Berger two years ago, following an earlier IAYMH conference in Brighton.

Meg Teviotdale, 22, who is based in Norwich and was among the group to visit Canada, will be one of the delegation to travel to London. She received care from NSFT several years ago after suffering with anxiety.

She said: “We’ll be talking about the things we learnt in Canada, the ideas we have brought back from other countries and our plans for introducing them in Norfolk and Suffolk.

“One of the ideas we really liked was putting together videos for people who have just been referred to the service, which show what the buildings they will be going to look like, introduce the friendly staff and explain what to expect. It’s such a simple idea but would also be really beneficial and make a real difference to people who may be anxious about going to their first appointment.

“We will also tell the shadow minister about the presentation we did in Canada, which was really well-received and got a standing ovation.

“The conference was absolutely amazing and just showed that by working together you can achieve so much – we were so pleased to get the chance to get our message across and look forward to doing the same when we visit London.”

Emma Corlett, Young People Participation Lead with NSFT, said: “The conference was a really fantastic opportunity for our Youth Council members. As well as helping them gain confidence, it also gave them some new ideas for further improving young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“It’s fantastic that they will now be given the chance to share these ideas at the highest level when they visit Westminster next week.”

Luciana Berger, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health said: “I am delighted to be welcoming members of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Youth Council to Parliament next week.

“Young people are best placed to determine what the mental health services they use should look like, so it is vital that their voices are at the centre of these discussions.

“I first met with representatives from the Youth Council two years ago, and the insights they shared with me were incredibly valuable.  I am very much looking forward to building on this at our upcoming meeting, and taking further positive steps together in the future.”

For a variety of help, information, blogs and resources to safeguard emotional wellbeing in all ages from pre-school children to young adults, visit whatsthedealwith.co.uk