Hello! I’m Hanniya, I am 17 years old and am currently studying for my A-levels in Physics, Maths and Art. I will be applying to university later this year where I hope to read Architecture. What interests me most about the study of buildings and cities is how these affect the people within them. A space has the power to change an individual’s mood, behaviour and even thinking, simply by the way it’s designed.
Youth services are no different. Simple flaws in their design and execution can greatly affect the experiences of the young people within them. This is why I applied to become a Young Advisor. I want young people’s experiences within mental health services to be as positive as possible, and I want young people’s voices to be heard.
This is something I am very passionate about. I think it’s vital for us to use our voices to make a positive difference. I also try to do this through my role as the Chair of Leicester City Young People’s Council. We work on many campaigns to tackle issues concerning the young people we were elected to represent, such as mental health, knife crime and homelessness, to name a few.
Although I have recently joined the Young Advisor’s team, I am immensely excited about making a tangible difference, and working alongside the brilliant YA team. I am also looking forward to broadening my work to a regional level and making a difference further afield.
My name is Harry and I have been a Young Advisor for the CYP IAPT Midlands collaborative since 2018.
I was a patient in Children’s and Adolescents Mental Health Services from 2012-2015 and adult services from 2015-2017. I am now a full-time Peer Support Worker at Young Minds Matter in Grimsby, where I received treatment as a child, in order to help inspire hope of recovery in the young people and their families who are currently going through mental health services.
I wanted to become a Young Advisor in order to not only help change the lives of those who I work with in Young Minds Matter but on a larger scale, and be connected with other Young People from all around the Midlands, to share experiences, compare ideas and make positive change for the future of children’s and adolescents’ mental health services.
So far, as a Young Advisor, the proudest moments in our work has been advising on lower-level CBT resources that have been introduced into primary schools across the Midlands; and speaking at various events on Participation, LGBTQ+ Mental Health and Peer Support, to a range of audiences, from training CAMHS Practitioners, to multiple mental health agencies to heads of NHS, in order to get our message across on a local and national level.
My name is Imogen, I’m 21 years old from Solihull. Currently, I’m a Youth Champion for the Dyspraxia Foundation as well as being a Local Coordinator for the Dyspraxia Foundation West Midlands group, aiming to support people with dyspraxia and their families. Through my charity work and having dyspraxia myself, I can see a big link between having a hidden disability and its detrimental impact on mental health, which I hope to integrate and raise much-needed awareness of.
Since I accessed the CAMHS service as a teenager, I have learned a lot about myself and coping strategies that continue to enable me to move forward. My personal, ongoing battle with depression and anxiety along with my ideas, experiences and passion of how services can be improved for young people has led me to the Young Advisor role and I’m really excited to make a difference alongside the Midlands team.
My aspirations in the role are to develop my self-confidence and public-speaking skills, to be able to get my voice across and to make my views heard. Besides my charity work, I like to run and have discovered the clear benefits that regular exercise has on mental health. It’s amazing how profoundly effective fresh air is to boost my mood and reduce stress!
Perhaps my biggest achievement in my life to date is completing the London Marathon at the age of 18, which took a great deal of resilience, determination and tenacity to get through!
Hello, I’m Tim. I’ve been a Young Advisor for nearly one-and-a-half years now, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it!
I started in this role back in October 2017 after transitioning from voluntary work in Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT). When I was in LPT, I actively worked on improving CAMHS services for Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland as I had previous bad experience of the service and didn’t want anyone else to through the same horror.
I wanted to become a Young Advisor to expand my horizons to do work on a regional level, not just a local one. I had already made a big difference in LPT, but now I felt it was time to make a difference in the whole of the Midlands. It’s my aim to future proof mental health services as well as inject some innovation into the sector.
Outside of being a Young Advisor, I’m an engineering apprentice working on electromechanical machines. I’ve always been fascinated by how things work and how devices are both designed and constructed. This approach also helps me to be a successful young advisor as I look at things and wonder how they can be made better.
So far, my accomplishments mainly include public speaking at events we’ve taken part in. This is a skill that I’ve got better at through being a Young Advisor and I’m glad. Public speaking is not easy, especially for someone like me who is naturally prone to anxiety.
Lastly, remember that he who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right.
Hello! My name is Rowan and I am sixteen years old and I am currently starting my A Levels and have just joined the Young Advisor team. I am studying Art, English Literature, History and Media Studies. However, I have a true commitment to art; it’s my one true goal in life – to be a professional artist! I’m also an avid video game player; you have to have fun somehow! Despite being a passionate and driven artist, I also have an interest in mental health services due to my prior involvement in them and how they’ve somewhat failed me and my friends in the past.
I also have a deep involvement in the LGBT community. Being a transgender male, I see a lot of prejudice and misinformation spread about; no – no one says, “did you just assume my gender”. I believe people should have a greater rein to express their sexuality or gender which is extremely hard to do in a mental health system lacking the appropriate information to help the LGBT community.
People in the LGBT community statistically have a higher rate of mental health problems, probably due to this deep rooted prejudice and loathing people hold towards us. Young people in the LGBT community are often the most vulnerable due to the hatred and harassment their peers inflict on them in school which I and my friends have experienced first-hand. So I joined the CYP IAPT to endeavour to help the LGBT community, and others, by giving them advice and helping them mental health-wise.
Hello there, I’m Jack and I am 20 years old. I study psychology at Staffordshire University. Previously I have got involved in a variety of participation events, including youth councils, mindfulness workshops, conference events, and have even conducted job interviews for professionals.
However, I wanted to expand my work across other localities, and the young advisor role offered an opportunity to make a difference across areas I had been unable to reach before. I also see young advisors as a method towards honing skills such as self-confidence, public speaking and leadership roles.
Additionally, I saw young advisors as an opportunity to share both my own experiences, as well as psychological knowledge from my degree. I hope to facilitate further projects with my empathy, team building skills, and subject knowledge, whilst promoting the growth of myself and others.
My hobbies and interests are mainly centred around self-love. I do things that help to keep me relaxed and happy, such as spending time with my two black labradors, going horse riding, and playing board games, or strategy games on my PC. I believe mental wellbeing is very important, and self-love is essential for being successful and happy within every domain.
Hi, I’m Alysha and I have been a young advisor since September 2017.
I have recently graduated from the University of Hull in Psychology. I am an inspiring clinical psychologist with a particular interest in working with young people. I am looking forward to starting my doctorate training. As well as being a passionate mental-health advocate, I am a massive football fan and travel quite a lot to watch my team play.
As well as being a young advisor, I have also worked with MIND, delivering workshops in anxiety management. I have also had a range of part-time jobs whilst studying such as working at an afterschool club and coaching swimming on weekends.
I was drawn to this position due to my interest in getting young people’s voices heard in mental health services. I have had close friends and family who have used the services who have had both positive and negative experiences. I wanted to use my existing knowledge and experiences to make a difference.
I have found being a young advisor a rewarding role and I have certainly developed and improved on many skills – in particular, my confidence and ability to speak in front of large audiences. I have met many like-minded people who are also committed to improving young people’s mental health services.
My name’s Archie and I’m twenty years old. I started being a young advisor in October 2017, so almost two years ago. I have not had much experience with other roles to do with mental health or participation other than being a young advisor. This role was not something I would have considered without the push from a family member to get more involved.
However, since being in this role I have learnt a lot about participation and mental health services, more than I ever would have without being in this position. It has taught me how important mental health is and how easily anyone can hide or not show it. For example, a friend that I have known for years that had shown no signs of mental health conditions told me he has PTSD which showed me anyone can hide it. Since joining I have been part of participation groups, interview panels and helped with events such as Let’s Get Mental.
These have been amazing experiences that I hope I get to do more of. Since being a young advisor, someone I know was diagnosed with bipolar so it has been an experience learning about his condition whilst being part of this group of people and learning how to help him in different ways from learning from other people’s similar experiences. Currently I’m not studying at University and instead doing a level two and three course in personal training whilst working at gym providing classes to customers. I find that one of the best cures to mental health is exercise and from my own experiences and seeing others I’ve seen the changes it makes, which is why I might do it as a career.
Hi, I’m Bry and I’ve been part of the young advisors team since September 2017. I am currently studying Psychology with Criminology at the University of Southampton and my career aspirations are to work in the field of forensic psychology. My main passion, aside from championing mental health awareness, is horses and animals in general.
Prior to being a young advisor, I volunteered for my local CAMHS youth participation team and took part in things such as interview panels and audits of the surrounding CAMHS bases. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the work I did as a part of this group, and it was the encouragement of my peers in this group that led to me applying for the job of a young advisor.
In this role, I have learnt so many new skills and have been able to develop professionally as well as personally. I have been able to grow my confidence and have made friends who share the same desire for change as I do. Some of my personal highlights in the role have been attending the Future in Mind event in London where we presented a workshop on the LGBTQ+ community and their mental health needs, as well as our own Let’s Get Mental conference at which I was part of the panel to speak about my own personal experiences with mental health.
Hi, I’m Oliver and I’ve been a Young Advisor for The Midlands Collaborative since September 2017. Currently, I read music at The University of Birmingham and I am in my second year. I came to the role because I was (and still am) an advocate for good mental health practice and working towards greater awareness and universal support for mental health issues.
In the past, I have worked with The Commissioner for Child’s Services in North Derbyshire to recruit and implement a mindfulness scheme throughout primary schools across the county. Additionally, I have compered at a Future in Mind conference with her and was able to learn about the new initiatives being introduced and how I can promote these to potential service users.
Since coming to the role, I have had the opportunity to champion mental health in a variety of interesting settings. I have given presentations and training on Participation, Peer Mentoring and LGBTQ+ mental health requirements.
A part of the role which I really enjoyed was when I worked as an actor and co-marker for CBT Practitioner training at Derby University. Within this role, I had to take on the persona of a potential service-user that a therapist may encounter so that they could practice diagnosing and supporting that young person.
After they had given the mock session, I was then able to consult with the course convenor and ensure that the opinion of the young person was taken into account with the marking. This really inspired me as it showed how much care professionals can have for a young person’s perspective and how valuable it can be in shaping the next generation of service providers.
Hi, I’m Abi! I’m 18 years old and I work in Stafford and the surrounding areas. I am currently studying health and social care in the hopes of being able to qualify as a mental health nurse.
I started working for the mental health services when I was around 16 years old when I was offered the opportunity to give a talk about the ever-changing eating disorders services at CAMHS. After this I was offered many other roles within the NHS and CAMHS. These included sitting on youth interview panels, giving more talks, attending different training and getting involved with Stafford CAMHS’ youth participation. I spent about 3 and a half years working for Stafford’s youth participation before the funding was cut for it. After this, I decided to apply to become a young advisor as I thought I could use my experiences of the mental health services to make a change.
As well as having experience through my volunteering in CAMHS, I also have experience of working with other individuals who may need advocates for their mental health. I have worked in primary schools with young children with learning and behavioural disabilities, in nursing homes with people with dementia and activity day centres with people who have brain injuries and learning disabilities. Working with these people has made me realise that working to improve the mental health services is one of the most rewarding things I could be doing.
I haven’t been with the young advisors long and therefore haven’t had the chance to attend many events but I hope to be able to participate and voice my opinion. I am really looking forward to making a difference.
My name is Casey. I am 20 years old from Leicester and have been a Young Advisor since October 2019. I’m currently on long-term sick leave from full-time work, although I am doing a lot of voluntary work. I am a care leaver; I was put into long-term care at 15 years old. This means I was never going back home.
The voluntary work I do is advocating for looked-after children and care-experienced young people. On occasion, this is something I am also paid to do. I was chair of the Children in Care Council for Leicestershire and used to be co-chair of the Care Experienced Consultants for Leicester. All of the past and current work I have done has been focussed around bettering the lives for care-experienced young people. I have met some interesting people whilst doing this work, such as the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire.
I was under CAMHS from the age of 12-18 due to a number of mental health conditions. I am now with adult services, still working on those issues. My past inspires me to look out for and help in any way I can for anyone going through a tough time. It’s something I’m really passionate about. My dream career would be to be an astrophysicist. I’m currently taking a break from education to better my mental health but the ultimate goal for me is to become the next Stephen Hawking!
Sam is a photographer, videographer, autism advocate and disability campaigner, who joined CYP IAPT as a way of contributing his own voice to issues surrounding mental health services.
He has spoken at conferences, produced promotional videos, run workshops and delivered presentations informing professionals on how they can better manage those with mental health needs.
My name is Molly. I’m currently studying A-levels at Derby college, with the ambition to study a clinical psychology course at university.
I have been a part of my local CAMHS participation unit since I was 14. It’s been one of the most positive experiences of my life. I have dealt with debilitating anxiety, clinical depression, PTSD and crippling OCD.
While therapy and a variety of different medications have helped me, nothing has come close to participation. Being able to take part in interviews, presentations and multiple group activities has made my confidence soar. I loved the fact that I was making a difference to people who have been through the same issues I have dealt with.
This is why I applied to become a young advisor. I want to make a difference to people that are in the same boat I have been in. Education, talking and raising awareness are key to moving forward with the mental health services, and the young advisors are the personification of this. I feel that if I would have known more about a variety of mental health issues, my recovery would have been much swifter – as well as relapses being easier to detect and deal with.
I have already been able to make a difference in my local CAMHS area. I feel that with this role I will still be able to do this, but on a much larger scale.
A little about me: I love self-care activities such as exercise, a healthy diet, reading, massage, aromatherapy and as little social media interaction as possible.