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Work of Young People's Council in spotlight on International Youth Day

11 Aug 22

Friday, 12 August marks United Nations’ International Youth Day and presents an opportunity to reflect upon the excellent work of Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust’s (HPFT) Young People's Council and to thank its members for their hard work.

The council is a forum for young people with experience of using Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and/or their parent/carers where they can express their views on services and changes to services.

Three members, who have given excellent support to the group over a number of years, will soon step down as the upper age limit for members is 21.

Emily, who has been on the council for five years, is also a Trust public governor and has just finished her training to become a mental health nurse. She also writes social media blogs about her experiences.

She said: “During my time with the council I have had the opportunity to do some really cool stuff like give my views on the Government White Paper on mental health reform and have helped with the co-production of the Tier 4 Home Treatment Team and DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) services which helps people to develop distress tolerance and emotional regulation. 

“Five years ago I was really quite anxious and not really comfortable sitting in a big room full of people but my time with the council has helped me grow my confidence and my leadership skills. I have given talks to psychology students and to the management of the Trust. It has been lovely to come together as a group to express different opinions. You realise that you are not alone and that you can help make changes to mental health services.”

A second member, who has been with the youth council for seven years, has been instrumental in providing training on psychological distress to Hertfordshire Police recruits. Police have thanked her for work with them.

Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Mental Health Co-ordinator Lee Hill said: “She has been a great help to our new police recruits during their training, helping them to better understand how to approach incidents involving those in mental health crisis in the best possible way.

“She has been coming to speak to our new recruits on a monthly basis over the last two years, providing an invaluable insight by sharing her own experience of police contact when she was just 15 years old.  New officers are given an honest and forthright account from her.

“Her contribution is very much appreciated by the trainers and student officers who take this feedback into their everyday roles, which helps them to provide the best possible service to the public and, in particular, those suffering from mental health crisis.

“I would like to publicly thank her and co-speaker Steve Morris from CAMHS for their continued support of Hertfordshire Constabulary. It is much appreciated.”

Council members are involved in a range of activities, including co-producing changes to existing services/information, as well as identifying new services and their development. They also advise on job descriptions, join interview panels for roles at every level of the organisation and share their views on projects as they develop.

Steve Morris, HPFT’s Young People’s Involvement Lead, said: “We are very grateful for the hard work of the council and, in particular, these three members who are now leaving as they reach the age of 21. There is great solidarity and supportiveness from this group. They have a common bond and the work they have done has been really impressive.

“The council plays an integral part to the way the Trust operates and in recognition of International Youth Day, we want to draw attention to the work that it does in making a real difference to how services are managed and provided. The support and views expressed by these experts by experience is invaluable.”  

To find out more about the Young People's Council work at HPFT contact hpft.involvement@nhs.net or go to Get involved (hpft.nhs.uk)

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