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Youthful voices in mental health

The Youth Health Parliament is a group of young professionals who have been selected to debate and formulate new ideas within 5 health related categories. The mental health subgroup is known as the Mental Wealth Initiative. We are a group of 7 individuals from a variety of professional backgrounds who first met in March 2016. At this point, we were given the task of writing a white paper and policy brief related to the future of mental health in the UK. To start our task, we decided to conduct a survey collecting patient feedback on the current UK mental health system. The results have been written up and published on yhpmentalhealth.org in our first report, ‘The View from the Waiting Room’.

Survey Monkey was used to host the questionnaire which was then shared through social media. In total, there were 138 responses from people who have experience of mental health difficulties. These are some of our key findings.

  • Over 80 per cent went to their GP as a first point of contact about their mental health difficulty
  • Over 20 per cent found accessing mental health services moderately difficult and over 5 per cent found it impossible
  • We found 59 per cent felt that having to repeat personal details was moderately or extremely distressing
  • Over 80 per cent of people would find a website that integrates information with available services and treatment plans useful
  • Over 20 per cent are extremely uncomfortable with discussing mental health difficulties over the phone
  • We found 60 per cent would find the easiest method for discussing mental health difficulties is in person

Taking into account our report, the latest research and examples of best practice, The Mental Wealth Initiative is in the process of formulating recommendations. We currently plan to adopt the Big Lottery funded Fulfilling Lives model, which is an investment in 12 areas of England. This model funds projects coordinating support for people with multiple and complex needs, with a shared key aim to drive system change via improved partnership working. In addition to helping individuals, the funding is used to showcase and evidence more effective and efficient ways for designing, commissioning and delivering support services multiple and complex needs arena. 1.

The Mental Wealth Initiative will be a project that provides early intervention strategies for all mental health conditions in a secure and safe environment for young people aged 11-25. Increase awareness surrounding all mental health conditions so that when difficulties arise, people have a better insight into the problem and know where to find help. Create system change at all levels so that meaningful policy can be introduced, local organisations can form partnerships to streamline pathways, easing access into services and empower young people to make choices regarding the support they receive. Finally, the Mental Wealth Initiative will be a project that enables people with lived experience to influence design, decision and delivery at all levels.

Our vision is to provide an interactive service that provides an online, phone line and face to face service. Young people need a holistic, multi-disciplinary service that is not subject to restrictive criteria. One example of best practice that is providing us with a great deal of inspiration, is Headspace, based in Australia. Our ideas are growing and developing as time goes by and will be presented to UK Parliament in November.

If you are an organisation or individual that would like to get involved, then please take a look at our web/blog site . We actively welcome guidance, advice and support and in return, we will keep you updated and value your input as the project develops.


  1. http://mcnevaluation.co.uk
Sam Ward
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