NCB join Youth Access to put the voices of young people at the centre of mental health service design

The Youth Access project aims to put the voices of young people at the centre of mental health service design. It will bring young people, mental health professionals and policymakers together to co-design mental health and wellbeing services that are more responsive to the needs of young people. This work has never been more timely.

Youth Access Project - focus groups

NCB are asking young people aged 13-25 to take part in focus groups to help inform the Youth Access project on what young people want and need from mental health services. The information gathered will be used to create a young person’s Mental Health Charter.

We are asking for your help to arrange these focus group session(s) within your organisation/youth group.

The focus group needs to be delivered to young people aged 13-25 years before 16 October 2020.

There are two documents which need to be used for the focus group delivery;

1)           Focus group guide for participation workers (pdf);

2)           Focus group appendices (word doc), which contains feedback forms for information to be recorded & sent back to NCB.

We’re particularly keen to hear from all children and young people from the following special interest groups who may feel under-represented in existing research:

  • Young carers

  • Care experienced children and young people

  • Irish Traveller Children

  • Children with disability and/or Special Educational Need (SEN)

  • Children from a black or minority ethnic background

  • Children attending alternative education setting (e.g. EOTAS)

  • Children whose first language is other than English

  • Children who identify as LGBTQ+

  • Children who are/have experienced being homeless

  • Children with life limiting or life-restricting medical condition

  • Children with experience of the juvenile justice system

If you can help organise and deliver a session, or for more information about the project, please contact Gill Hassard, Senior Participation Officer, 

About the Youth Access project

This five year project, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund will empower young people with lived experience of mental health issues to lead the transformation of community-based mental health provision across the UK, in collaboration with Voluntary & Community Sector (VCS) providers and professionals in the system.

NCB is leading on this work in Northern Ireland and joins a partnership of ten youth and mental health organisations from all four nations, led by Youth Access.

Members of the project partnership, which is led by Youth Access, are: National Children’s Bureau, Scottish Youth Parliament, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), Promo Cymru, Hafal, Royal College of Psychiatrists and NHS Clinical Commissioners Mental Health Network. The evaluation will be undertaken by The Centre for Youth Impact and the Health Inequalities Research Network.  

What will success look like?

  1. The shape of community based mental health services will be influenced by young people with lived experience of mental health difficulties

  2. Young people and professionals involved in the project will feel empowered to effect change in the youth mental health system

  3. Quality in community-based mental health services will be driven by what matters to young people

  4. Voluntary & Community Sector providers will have an increased role in the landscape of community-based youth mental health provision

How will we achieve this?

We are working with young people, service providers and decision makers in Northern Ireland to take part in a range of activities, including:

  • Creating a young person’s charter: a document outlining what young people need from their mental health services.

  • Taking part in Hackathons: young people and decision makers will work together towards actions to deliver on the asks in the charter.

  • Taking action: young people and supporters will work with their local communities to create the change they wish to see and hold services to account.

  • Facilitating communities of practice: learning events and knowledge sharing forums for service providers, decision makers and policy makers.

How can I get involved?

Young people aged 13-25 years can join our Young Persons’ Advisory Group (YPAG). This group will help inform and guide the project. Young people can find out more & how to join here.

Young people can also engage with the project by participating in focus groups and on-line survey to help develop a NI charter. This charter will outline what young people with mental health problems want when accessing mental health and well-being services.

Organisations that provide support to young people in both the VCS & statutory mental health system can become project supporters by:

  • Promoting the project to young people

  • Helping us to engage with young people/service users to hear their views

  • Sharing learning from existing and previous initiatives to improve mental health support for young people

Your involvement will help NCB ensure that this project is driven by the voices of young people with lived experience of mental health and that services become more accountable for delivering on what matters to young people.

For more information about this project or to get involved with the focus groups please contact Gill Hassard - or (028) 9089 5006

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