Shaping services through dialogue

6 June 2023

A blog by Beth, #iwill Ambassador on the power of shaping services through dialogue

My name is Beth (She/her) and I have been an #iwill Ambassador since 2022. #iwill is a youth empowerment movement encouraging young people to start their social action journey and volunteer within their community.

My social action journey has focused on making change for young people’s physical and mental health services. I have been in various roles such as volunteer at a school for children with complex needs, sibling support worker for siblings of ill children, part of the Young Person’s Advisory Group at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s hospital and telephone befriender.

I am really passionate about young people’s mental health services. If the service is for young people, then young people should be involved in co-producing the services. We are the only ones who have been young people in today’s day so our voice should be treated with equity.

Over the last year I have been part of NHS Youth Forum. A group of 25 young people working together to improve healthcare for young people. We have been completing research in 4 subgroups: mental health, digital, health literacy and inequalities. I was inspired to join NHS Youth Forum from seeing the strong changes previous years had led. Most of my social action work had been at a local level. This opportunity gave a chance to make change nationally and learn from other young peoples journey.

I have been part of the mental health subgroup. I have really enjoyed completing research aiming to highlight young people’s experience and good practices taking place at a local level. Just because we are young people, doesn’t make us amateurs. I believe our skills are undervalued in a lot of society. These reports are one example of how much change can be driven by young people.

Key findings:

  • Over 60% of young people said their mental health did not improve after accessing mental health services.
  • The national average rating of their first point of call when in mental health crisis, was 5/10.
  • Young people stated: “I suffered for five years alone.”, “I felt judged.” , “The severity and life threatening nature of my illness wasn’t treated with urgency because it was mental.” …

Our recommendations:

  1. Co-producing all NHS mental health policies with young people and creating new guidelines on how to build more consistent mental health services across the NHS.
  2. Implement shared mental health training, led by experts by experience, for all healthcare professionals working with young people.
  3. For NHS England to collaborate with effective local level projects that have delivered good practices, and to make them accessible to all service users across the nation.

Mental health services can be outstanding, changing a young person’s life for the better, in giving the hope of recovery. Giving young people a voice, gives NHS mental health services hope for transformation. Young people need to be given the best start to life, so please help make change.

We are ready to work with policy leaders, the government and NHS leaders, to ensure no decision about our generation is made without us. This report being published is the start of our journey. We want to conversations with anyone willing to listen and take action. It is everyone’s responsibility to make change, whether it is within your family, locally or nationally.

Please share and read our report.

If you have an opportunity for us to led change or would like us to be involved in an event, please contact us

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