Young people across Oxfordshire are being urged to give their voices to ambitious plans to develop and strengthen mental health services.
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has partnered with Unloc, a not-for-profit organisation, to engage with 1,500 young people to find out more about the mental health situations they face, the local services they use and what changes they want to see.
The Trust and Unloc’s joint mission is to give the county’s youth a powerful voice and be listened to; ultimately empowering them to help make ground-breaking changes, develop skills and potential and give them a unique platform.
Unloc’s wealth of experience with engaging with and understanding the needs of young people will provide the Trust with unique insight, and delivery focused data, which allow them to tailor their services in an effective and specialised way to best support young people in the region.
Oxford Health already has mental health support teams in schools and a mental health service (CAMHS) that helps young people and families in a variety of ways.
But lockdowns, education disruption, anxieties, stress, social media, and a host of other things have led to a surge in mental health concerns. Oxford Health wants to enhance the support it gives, and the partnership.
The two organisations’ first step is in calling on young people to share their views via an anonymous five minute survey which has been sent to more than 400 organisations, including schools, colleges and youth groups.
The way survey questions are answered will give a ‘temperature check’ on mental health issues.
You can do the survey here and you will not be asked to give your name.
Following the survey there are plans for a series of mental health roadshows specifically for young people.
Oxford Health’s next ambition is to develop a Youth Board for the Trust – where engaged young people can share insights, ideas and experiences to enhance services.
Oxford Health’s Chief Executive, Dr Nick Broughton, said: “The trust is delighted to be working with Unloc to focus on enhancing our mental health services for young people.
“Young people face numerous challenges and pressures in society, this is an opportunity for us to meet their needs and support them in the best way we can.
“Unloc’s programme will allow young people to have a voice, ensuring their valuable opinions are not forgotten, so we can adapt and change and continue to provide excellent high quality care to our communities.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Oxford Health to take the next step, to make a change and stand by the young people in our communities who need us.”
Unloc’s Managing Director, Hayden Taylor said: “We’re beyond thrilled to be working with Oxford Health to tackle this vital issue head on. Young people in particular have been hit so hard by this pandemic, many isolated from their friends, family, their teachers, counsellors, and their wider support network.
“It’s so important we engage with young people directly and hear their own personal experiences and needs. This will allow us to provide valuable insight to the Trust, and really ensure that the young people of Oxford are receiving all the specific help and support they need.”
For more information on mental health services for young people, please visit the Oxford Health CAMHS website here. Alternatively, if you are a young person who needs support or you know someone who does, please contact your GP. Further advice can be found on the Young Minds website here.
Unloc also provide a free Mental Health and wellbeing e-course for young people on their dedicated Unloc.Online learning platform. To take this free course simply click here.
You can also read Hayden Taylor’s recent commentary on the mental health crisis young people face in a post-covid world by clicking here.
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Published: 17 May 2021