Health care services play an important role in each and every individual’s life, including young people’s. This is why the young should be involved in making decisions regarding their care - they are not an add-on to the service but integral. This is because young people are not only future patients but doctors, nurses and admin staff also. They need to be in a position to understand how actions and systems within the health service work. One of the things, I would like services to have is improved engagement with young people especially for Mental health, young people should be listened to, services designed with their input and decisions made with their involvement because the service is theirs. Health Care professionals need to understand that young people know what they want and that it is compassionate to let them have a say about their lives. There should be an intervention phase for young people between the transition from schools to colleges or college to university. This is a vital stage of a young person’s life and most of time they can be left hanging as no one meets this need. Young people don't know who to turn to for help when needed. Therefore I believe all teachers and school nurses should be trained in spotting the signs and symptoms of mental health. I believe it should be mandatory for teachers to be trained. Young people should also be given the training, as they are able to help their peers with problems. Mental Health needs to be explored and openly discussed otherwise we are all just reaffirming the stigma.
Promoting good Mental Health, prevention over treatment, should be the aim of health services. This is because prevention will have a larger impact on the young person as it will help to stop at early stages, rather than a young people going through 3 months of waiting to see a mental health service such CAHMS when it can be prevented at early stages where the help will be more vital. This will also help the health service as well as it will help to find out what kind of service the young person needs at the early stage than wait for 3 months to find out.
The services provided by health care professionals are generally good for adults who are easily able to access services. However, how accessible are the services like mental health for a young person? Small changes can make the services more effective even for young people. These changes should start from schools and through education, as I would like to see all young people be provided with mandatory lessons on mental health, bullying and sexual health within PSHE lessons. The lessons should be taught by the teacher, who would be supported by school nurses and other experts, as sometimes young people do not feel comfortable when outside services come to teach them about these vital subjects. Therefore, the teachers should be give the training to enable them to deliver these sessions.
Overall, I believe that having young people more involved and part of decision making within health services will allow services to me more effective, as the young people will bring a new aspect and ideas which can help health care services to provide improved services and hopefully prevent health and wellbeing becoming a more significant problem later in life.
Iqra Ali, student and campaign officer for YouthForia