CYA - What we did in September

Children sitting at tables writing and drawing

CYA's Priorities

Freya Keating from Commissioning visited CYA to find out more about CYA's priorities and to find out from you why so many children and young people are accessing support for their emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Freya asked CYA members what they thought could be done to make sure decisions made by CYA are a fair representation of all young people in Surrey.

You agreed that more could be done to encourage new CYA members to make sure that there is a range of people from different age groups and backgrounds attending.

  • "Advertise towards people in the council itself so that people within Mindworks and other services can refer people to CYA."
  • "It depends on how you approach people as most young people who go to mental health services might not want to share their feelings in a group. CYA is incredible though."

Freya asked you why you think many children and young people are accessing support for their emotional wellbeing and mental health.

You suggested that it is easier for young people to access services as there is less stigma, and that there is a lot of pressure that young people now face.

  • "Young people these days are getting pressure from friends, family and school due to the bullies and stress. It causes a lot of letdowns in yourself and it is quite upsetting. Social media is also a part of it."

You also raised that you feel bullying is a big problem in schools and colleges, and a lot of the young people were keen to share their experiences.

  • "It feels like it has to happen in school hallways for the bullies to get in trouble but as soon as it's outside school grounds, it's not their problem, no matter how they hurt and upset you."
  • "I was being harassed by this person and the school did nothing about it even though the teachers saw it happening."
  • "Even though schools have a no bully tolerance, bullying is still happening everywhere regardless of what you look like, how many friends you have and so on. And teachers seem nervous to be doing anything about it as it shouldn't be happening at all and they don't know how to deal with it at all."

Youth Mental Health Day

It was Youth Mental Health Day on the 19 of September. Youth Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness and understanding of mental health in young people. This year's theme was #BeBrave.

Here is what one CYA member shared about their experience with mental health:

"After leaving school for my mental health, I felt utterly alone with my thoughts and scared to spend time with my old friends. Taking the step to talk with my friends and make more friendships was one of the bravest but best things I achieved.

Although it may feel like you are entirely alone through this process, there are people who understand how you are feeling and have experienced this too.

Attending CYA (a group for young people to improve mental health services in Surrey) has helped me feel less alone and allowed me to be around people who understand. CYA has given me the chance to feel empowered and brave enough to speak up for others."

Mindworks User Voice and Participation Strategy

Maristelle Preece, the User Voice Lead for Mindworks, visited CYA to talk about Mindwork's user voice and participation strategy. In the meeting, CYA members had lots to say about what participation means to them:

  • "For me, it is bringing everybody to share their voice. It's inclusive and it doesn't matter what background you're from. Making sure everyone is represented."
  • "I think the biggest thing is engagement and empowerment."
  • "A lot of the time, people can feel really out of control. It gives us a space to voice our opinions. Sitting in a group like CYA, it's a lot more comfortable. You can say your actual experiences without making anyone upset or angry."

When asked what was important when carrying out participation work, there were lots of suggestions from you including:

  • Allow people to participate in different ways.
  • Offer different methods of communication.
  • Don't put people on the spot by asking them direct questions.
  • Be prepared to hear the honest truth.

You also raised the importance of young people sitting on recruitment panels and being involved in designing and delivering training for professionals.

Action Card Update

This month, we had an update on one of your action cards!

Action Card: As young people in Surrey, we would like professionals to have a profile about them, including what training they have taken, for example, Autism Awareness, LGBT+, sign language and so on.

Also with information about their personal interests, so that we know more about the professional we are working with and opening up to.

Update: There will be a feature added to the Mindworks website so that children and young people can request more information about the professionals who will be supporting them. We'll let you know when the feature has been added to the website.

Category: CYA

  • Reviewed: 11 Oct 2023

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