Over the past few months we have been working with a group of care experienced young people to think about some of the issues that are most prevalent in their lives. Over this time we have worked Children, Young People and Families Engagement Officer NHS: Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board who were keen to understand the lived experiences of the young people we support. The group used the cycle of social action to help identify "What" some of theses issues are:
- The professionals working with young people (Lack of experience/training)
- Mental Health
- Jobs Apprenticeship
- Physical Activity
Over several sessions the group identified Mental Health as the primary concern currently impacting on their lives. This led us to think about "WHY" Mental Health was such a significant factor impacting on the lives of care experienced young people. In partnerships with NHS: Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board we used a visual aid to help the young people think about the Mental Health System and the different strands of support that are currently available.
So why was Mental Health such a significant factor for our young people, here are some of the "WHY" issues they identified.
Everyone is an individual and doesn't fit a specific criteriaParticipant
Are foster carers and residential care staff given the appropriate training?Participant
Unhelpful language and jargonParticipant
It was clear from the discussions and each individuals perspective that each of the young peoples experiences were unique and clearly dependent on their experiences of the care system. As a group they were able to work together to identify 6 key points that they would like to address.
- "Not everyone is aware of mental health"
- "Lack of clarity about what support is available"
- "Services not reacting to feedback as quickly as we would like"
- "Insecurity with professionals"
- "Services need to be more modern and up to dates"
- "Assistance delay" (Long waiting lists)
Following the identification of these key themes we used the recent Independent review of social care to really draw the groups attention to the missions and recommendations set out relating to the Mental Health of care experienced young people .
- MISSION 5: “To Increase the life expectancy of care experienced people, by narrowing health inequalities with the wider populations”.
- RECOMMENDATION: “The identification and response to poor mental health issues should be a core part of training programmes for any professionals working with children and young people that have involvement with children's services”.
Our next step as a group will be to explore the "HOW" we can make a difference element of the social action cycle and we will be working closely with our young people over the coming months to really explore these options.
Thank you to all of the young people and partners who have participated in the project so far and we look forward to developing this work further alongside you in to the new year.
If you're a business or an individual who would like to get involved with the Powering Up Project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org