Young People’s Participation
Working to improve mental health services for young people under 25 years old in Norfolk and Suffolk
Participation means getting involved and having a say about how we support children and young people who use our services and giving you the chance to have input into how the Trust is run.
It’s about making services better for everyone.
We know that by valuing everyone’s individual experiences to make changes to the way we deliver care, the outcomes for people are better. Anyone and everyone can be involved in participation, including you!
Participation can come in many forms, from young people panels joining interviews, joining a group, being involved in projects, and redesigning services.
Meet our Young People’s Participation Team
People Participation Lead for Specialist Services and Norfolk and Waveney and Children, Families and Young People’s Services
“Hello, my name Is Lucy! I have been a Participation Lead working with young people since April 2021 and before that I was a peer support worker. As a teenager, I accessed the services I now work with for support with depression and social anxiety disorder. It was a really challenging time for me but with support I was able to learn the skills to improve my quality of life and stay on the path of recovery. My favourite part of my job is working alongside young people who use their lived experiences to make such huge differences to the quality of care we provide and watching their confidence grow! Outside of work, I love music and finding new artists to listen to”.
People Participation Lead for Suffolk Children, Families and Young People’s Services
“Hi, my name is Sophie and I have been working as a People Participation Lead since September 2020. Before this I was working as a co-ordinator and tutor for the Recovery College and completing my masters in Psychology. I came into this role as I had previously used services for my own mental health with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and wanted to use these experiences to try and support others. This role has given me the opportunity to work alongside young people and create a safe, supportive and inclusive space to share their thoughts, experiences and ideas which has led to some great and positive changes to the service. When I’m not at work I love going to gigs and playing the drums.”
People Participation Co-ordinator for Norfolk and Waveney Children, Families and Young People’s Services
“Hi, I’m Andrea. I became a People Participation Co-ordinator in August 2022 and chose the role as I have supported my son from a young age through his mental health journey and have experience of living with my own mental health challenges. My favourite part of the job is empowering people to recognise their ideas are valuable and sharing them can help others. I wish I’d have been involved more when my son was younger so I’m also passionate about parents and carers voices being heard. In my spare time I like going for long walks”.
People Participation Co-ordinator for Norfolk and Waveney Wellbeing Service
“My name’s Tim, I’m the People Participation Co-ordinator for Norfolk and Waveney NHS Wellbeing. I’ve been the Co-ordinator since July 2022. I believe that people should have a say in how their public services are run to make sure that we are providing what our communities need in a way that suits them. Having had my own mental health challenges I know how powerful it can be to feel like you have control in your treatment. I want to make sure that everyone has the chance to have their voice heard. In my spare time I play the violin!”
Young People’s Stories
“My participation journey began while I was in therapy. Making YouTube videos was helping with my recovery, and I showed one to my therapist. She asked if I would like to use my creativity to help with participation and put me in touch with Lucy. Lucy and I had a video call, I was anxious, but she was so open with me about her recovery and put me at ease.
Lucy and I spoke a few more times and then I felt confident enough to join the Young People’s Participation Group. I remember three of us went along regularly, I didn’t turn my camera on at first but after a while I felt like I could. At the group I felt like my voice was heard for the first time since being under services. It made me feel validated and gave me a sense of purpose. I had a job so couldn’t attend every time; it was fine to go along when I could. The groups were fun to go to – at Christmas we had a quiz, and all wore Christmas jumpers!
I was offered the chance to get involved in other projects and going to the group had given me the confidence to do this. The first thing I did was attend staff Leadership Training online and speak about my experience of using services. Lucy helped me to prepare for this and although it was scary, I felt empowered, like I was doing something meaningful, and my voice was being heard.
After this, I took part in lots of other participation opportunities including attending a Participation Committee Meeting where I presented a video I’d made about my mental health recovery journey to professionals. This gave me valuable skills, I later used when applying for my current job. The biggest thing I did was take part in a video about communication which was very professional and exciting – it was like being a movie star!!
Participation has helped me gain confidence, build my self-esteem, learn new IT skills, become more confident about public speaking (which I never thought I could do) and helped me overcome my anxiety. It also made it easier to transition over to adult services.
I’m still involved with participation, it’s a part of my job with the Trust and I help to deliver Participation Training to new starters. During training I tell my story and share what other participants have said. I wish participation was something I could’ve got involved in when I had my initial assessment - I would’ve been able to help make changes sooner and get better quicker!”