In May 2022, three MSYPs – Abbie, Eilidh and Crisantos – led a workshop with leads and members from the Scottish Government’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board (JDB) to share young people’s views gathered from two Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) consultation workshops and the March 2022 ‘What’s Your Take’ survey. The purpose of this workshop was to help Task and Finish Group leads and sponsors think about what more they should be doing to ensure young people are at the heart of decision making around mental health support in Scotland. Here, they reflect on the workshop and their hopes for this work going forward.
Abbie Wright MSYP, Aberdeen Central – SYP Trustee and representative on the Joint Delivery Board
“The Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board is overseeing a set of reforms designed to ensure children and young people receive the support they need when they need it.
“As the Board is responsible for this, they need to understand what young people want to see, so they can implement changes to benefit us! The best way for the Board to understand what we need is to ask young people, and having us take part in discussions is great as we are able to contribute as the conversations are happening. The Board has also committed to ensuring that the voices of children and young people are central to their work, and in order to deliver on this promise they not only have to listen to children and young people but take action on what we say.”
Eilidh Morrison MSYP, Haggeye
“Hello, I am Eilidh the MSYP for Haggeye – RNIB Scotland’s Youth Forum. Mental health is so important within the blind community because the world is not set up for blind and visually impaired people and this can make us feel alone and isolated which impacts on our mental health. Joining this workshop planning team, I hoped to raise the accessibility of the mental health services so that young people aren’t afraid to get help.
To plan the workshop with the Joint Delivery Board leads, Abbie, Crisantos and I worked with Rosy (SYP’s Governance and Events Manager) and Emma Papakyriakou (Scottish Government’s Engagement Officer) to come up with a workshop plan that involved presenting data from the ‘What’s Your Take survey’ and the information from the two consultation workshops we did with MSYPs in December 2021 and February 2022. During the workshop Abbie and I took turns presenting what young people have told us as MSYPs and how hard it actually is to access or even know that those mental health services exist. After we presented the data, we split into breakout rooms where we asked the JDB and leads specific questions about how young people access mental health services and what they thought they could improve to make it accessible for everyone.
“This workshop with the Joint Delivery Board and leads of Task and Finish Groups was a fantastic experience to talk to people about the importance of putting young people first. There was lots of positive feedback, and I hope the Task and Finish Groups will implement what we shared with them in this workshop.”
Crisantos Ike MSYP, Rutherglen – SYP Trustee and member of the Our Minds Our Future Scotland group
“Throughout the workshop we looked at three key themes that came out of our consultation workshops: reducing stigma, raising awareness and improving communications, and improving participation and feedback.
We shared young people’s aspirations for their mental health, where young people told us that if they have the right support for their mental health at the right time, they will be able to be comfortable with who they are, live a full and fulfilling life, and have the power to achieve their goals. We talked about where young people told us they would go first to access information about mental health and wellbeing services in their area, methods they would be most comfortable with to access support initially, and why it is so important for young people to have access to a range of different options. We also highlighted ways to reduce stigma, and why it is important that young people are involved in the decision making about the support and services they have access to.
Furthermore, we also had the chance to have meaningful discussions with the leads and sponsors regarding those findings and what they mean to them and their work. We asked questions regarding how services are delivered and how they could be delivered better. One of the main ideas that came out of the session was how important it is for groups like the Joint Delivery Board and mental health services to continuously gather feedback from children and young people to help them make sure mental health support is actually meeting our needs.
“As young people who are passionate about improving mental health services in all areas it was important for the leads and professionals in the field to listen to and engage with us through this session, and I hope they continue to engage with young people going forward.”