Members of The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust Youth Council (NSFTYC) recently attended the International Association of Youth Mental Health conference in Canada (October 2015), a trip which they funded themselves by raising £38,000, and delivered a presentation to international delegates.
The NSFTYC’s aim of going to the conference was to gain an insight into youth mental health schemes internationally, so they can bring models of good practice back to both counties.
The NSFTYC is made up of a cohort of young people who have experienced mental ill health and have accessed services in the past (or present) and generally want to better mental health services.
The aim of the presentation (above) was to deliver the true meaning of youth participation to adults and other young people alike, hoping that they would grasp useful information from our presentation to take and instate in their own countries. They also wanted people to see how invaluable it was to have young people as presenters at a conference and how much impact it delivers to other young people, and how motivational it can be to see other young people suffering with mental health issues to be able to overcome their anxieties and perform their own stories on stage.
They worked with critically acclaimed local poets, writers and artists to create a video to represent their experiences of mental health, accessing services and the vital role that NSFTYC and relative activities have played in personal development in a way that was safe and private but still human and personable.
One Youth Council member summed up the whole experience,
“Having the opportunity to go to Canada and attend the conference was an amazing experience. It enabled me to meet people from all over the world and talk about something we’re all passionate about; mental illness. My confidence soared throughout the entire trip, knowing that I was helping to make an impact on how people viewed mental health and what methods / strategies there are for more youth engagement. To be applauded and receive a standing ovation at the end of the presentation we all worked so hard for made it more rewarding. I learnt about how other services from all over the world set up and run their projects, some of which I can’t wait to see develop and others I look forward to trying to implement in Norfolk and Suffolk services. As a group, we grew too, I had only met a few of them once or twice and some not at all, by the end of our experience together we had gained friendships, memories and more knowledge on a topic we all share interest in.”
View the NSFTYC video presentation above or click here for a direct link.
Vikki Versey, Young People’s Health Ambasssador