A team of young people are aiming to improve mental health services by leading a study, commissioned by the Scottish Government, drawing on their own experiences.
The 22 members of the Youth Commission on Mental Health Services begin work this week to reshape the support available, in a partnership between the Scottish Government, Young Scot and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH). The Youth Commission will gather evidence on existing services, encourage debate among young people and develop recommendations for ministers and service providers on how child and adolescent mental health services can be improved.
It is part of the 10 year Mental Health Strategy launched last year and mental health is a key theme of the Year of Young People 2018.
Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “It is vital that we recognise that good mental wellbeing is as important as physical health and periods of ill mental health can be recovered from with treatment and support. The work of the young commissioners will guide how we improve the mental health services available to young people, and just as importantly, I want the discussion around their work to break down the unjustified stigma that persists around seeking treatment or experiencing poor mental health.
“This is the Year of Young People 2018 and this commission gives us an opportunity to deliver real change, based on evidence and experience, and create a society and health service that better meets the mental and physical health needs of our children and young people.”
Youth Commissioner Hannah (17) said: “I see mental health as one piece of the puzzle that makes up all of a person’s wellbeing. Throughout my life I’ve faced challenges with my mental health and getting support which has made me eager to see what can be done to improve access to mental health services. Many people close to me also deal with mental health issues and so I know how important and wonderful it is to build a support network.
This is an opportunity to make a difference in a system that so many people in my community rely on.”
Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot said: “The Youth Commission on Mental Health is an amazing opportunity for young people to shape the future of mental health services in Scotland. It gives young people the chance to effect positive change in the areas that are most important to them, which will last throughout the Year of Young People 2018 and beyond.”
Billy Watson, SAMH Chief Executive said: “SAMH welcomes the initiative taken by
the Scottish Government to partner with SAMH and Young Scot to bring this
important Youth Commission to fruition. This is a really exciting opportunity for young people to make their voices heard and to be at the heart of improving mental health services for now and for generations to come.”