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Isle of Man young people contribute to government project

Young people from the Isle of Man have visited London to contribute to the Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) review into mental health support for Looked After Children, care leavers and young people who are adopted.

Three young people accompanied by Clare Maude, Wraparound Therapeutic Manager, and Helen Craster, the Clinical Lead for the Department for Health and Social Care on the Isle of Man, came to the capital for two days to attend the research group. Two of the young people had never visited London before and were really excited.

The day was split into two sessions. First, young people chose from four different ways (film, photography, art or discussion) to communicate what support they want for their mental health. They agreed that the type of support would depend on the individual young person but could include Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), someone to talk to, emotional and physical support, appraisals with a reward scheme, and assessment by psychologists.

Young people were very understanding about worker caseloads but they said it is very important to make time for each person. The current standard of meeting once every six weeks is not enough as a lot can change in that time. One thing they recommended against was using questionnaires as some people may lie due to the stigma around mental health.

After this the young people looked at the project’s ideas to date and shared their views. They said in principle a mental health passport would make sense depending on what it looked like and expressed that it was very important for young people to be involved so that they had ownership. The group also felt very positive about the idea of a Virtual Mental Health Lead, but that the person would need to have experience of working with young people in care and be very involved in supporting this group.

Other ideas included making mental health a peer-led part of the curriculum at a young age, supporting people to identify what constitutes as a mental health issue, and changing the name to “well-being” instead to lose the negative connotations.

St Christopher’s has already been involved in SCIE’s project by submitting two responses to the calls for evidence and attending a stakeholder event to share learning. Supporting young people to have their say and be involved in decision-making is an important part of our participation work.

As a result of attending the research day the three young people are now forming a working group on the Isle of Man to inform professionals about findings from the research and how we can improve services on the island.

The final report will be published later this year.