What Is The Consultation?
There’s something very important happening right now to do with #YoungMentalHealth – Make sure you have your say.
The government is asking people for their views on a green paper setting out measures to improve mental health support for children and young people.
The green paper focuses on earlier intervention and prevention, especially in and linked to schools and colleges.
The proposals include:
creating a new mental health workforce of community-based mental health support teams
every school and college will be encouraged to appoint a designated lead for mental health
a new 4-week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services to be piloted in some areas
Why The Consultation Is Important To Me
I think that this consultation is important because our voices will finally be heard. It’s important that the mental health of young people is taken seriously so that it does not affect their future lives.
What I Want To See Come Out Of The Consultation
I’d like to see more ways for young people to find support. At the moment, it’s very hard for children and teens to get the right help. Not enough people take us seriously when we tell them what’s going on in our heads. If you tell your teacher, or someone you trust, they tell your parents. Your parents will need to talk to the GP and the GP will talk to you both. In most cases, the GP will just refer you to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) or send you away and tell you what everyone else tells you, “it’s just your hormones.”
Whatever the issue, it needs to be investigated properly before you are sent to have counselling or anything else. For example, the anxiety could be coming from a bully at school. The depression could be a result of a childhood trauma you never told anybody about. It could just be that you always feel low. Whatever is going on in your head still matters, no matter how serious the situation is. Pushing someone straight into therapy or sending them away will not help them!
Get Help From Where?
Some places in the UK do not have anywhere that young people can go to get help. This is because the mental health service/community is so widely stretched that getting onto the waiting list can take months and that’s if they even bother getting back to you! The average waiting time to see anyone for mental health e.g. CAMHS in Musgrove (our local hospital) is 63 days. There should be trained teachers in schools to see when problems flag up, like things going on at home or trauma/problems in childhood and they should ensure that the victims get proper support or counselling.
I understand that there are a lot of young people with mental health now and therefore a lot of people to get into CAMHS, etc. This is why we should have a school nurse in every school that is trained to do one-to-one sessions with students and also in colleges too.
Why I Think Other Young People Should Have Their Say In The Consultation
I feel that every young person should have a say in the consultation because it is a really important issue and something that affects us all.
If you have a broken leg, you would go to a hospital and they would help you as soon as they could. Your waiting list in A&E would be around 3-4 hours on a weekend where I live. They take you seriously, they examine you immediately, run some tests to see what the problem is and find a solution straight away. You go home, come back for a check-up, then you’re done. All better. Why can’t we have that with a mental health issue? Because they are not an easy fix. Our minds cannot just be put into a cast or operated on. You can’t just have medication and it’s all better. The fix, or solution, to be happier is a long-term process that you have to be patient.
A waiting list with a place like CAMHS is around 6-8 months right now, that’s just for an assessment. In that appointment, you are assessed and they talk about your life and how it’s gone and what you feel is wrong. After that, you wait for a letter about a second appointment to start the treatment. This usually is about 2-3 months after your initial appointment.
My Experience With CAMHS
In my appointments with CAMHS, I try to find ways to deal with my anger. However, all they’ve given me as advice to help so far is:
😖 Colouring in,
😡 Drawing my anger (he gave me a diagram of a dinosaur with an angry face and fire for this one)
🤨 Doing something I like (for my photography, or seeing my nephew, or going on a run)
🤔 Sitting on the floor and stretching out my legs
They treat us like children, also none of this can be done if we are angry in class! We need to have advice/help that we can do daily and are effective. We do not want to sit and colour in your five-year-old daughter’s book you brought in to distract us while you talk to our parents. *very patronising*
Unfortunately, with being under 18, none of us can have medication to ease the pain in our hearts and our heads. We cannot have pills for our anxiety or our depression or whatever it is any of you have. We must just do whatever these “professionals” say.
Please Start Taking Our Needs Seriously
Mental health is just as important as our physical health. Young people deserve to be taken seriously and given the help they need to feel good again and enjoy a childhood like everyone else does.
I currently go to a group called, The Project. It gives me the opportunity to sit and talk about how I feel one-to-one with a trained adult that takes me seriously and is a safe place for me.
A group of people 13-18 sit in a circle in a hall and first go around the circle to answer the question of the day and say their name so we know who they are (very helpful for me since I always forget names). Then we do mindfulness for five minutes before being given a few activities to choose from. Food is cooked while we are doing these activities.
There is a chance for you to talk to people the whole way through. I think that the project is helpful for teens because it gives us a safe place and a chance to feel “normal”. I’ve become a lot more confident since joining. There should be groups like this available for all young people.
There is a website that can help you to understand this all more here.
These YouTube videos are an easy way of learning more about it.
You can read a similar post to this one here.