Mental Health and the lived experiences of care experienced young people
Originally published in Leicestershire Cares.
Over the past few months Leicestershire Cares have been working with a group of care experienced young people to think about some of the issues that are most prevalent in their lives. Over this time they have worked Children, Young People and Families Engagement Officer NHS: Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board who were keen to understand the lived experiences of the young people we support. The group used the cycle of social action to help identify “What” some of theses issues are:
- The professionals working with young people (Lack of experience/training)
- Mental Health
- Jobs Apprenticeship
- Physical Activity
Over several sessions the group identified Mental Health as the primary concern currently impacting on their lives. This led them to think about “WHY” Mental Health was such a significant factor impacting on the lives of care experienced young people. In partnerships with NHS: Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board, Leicestershire Cares used a visual aid to help the young people think about the Mental Health System and the different strands of support that are currently available.
So why was Mental Health such a significant factor for our young people, here are some of the “WHY” issues they identified.
“Everyone is an individual and doesn’t fit a specific criteria” – Participant
“Are foster carers and residential care staff given the appropriate training?” – Participant
“Unhelpful language and jargon” – Participant
It was clear from the discussions and each individuals perspective that each of the young peoples experiences were unique and clearly dependent on their experiences of the care system. As a group they were able to work together to identify 6 key points that they would like to address.
- “Not everyone is aware of mental health”
- “Lack of clarity about what support is available”
- “Services not reacting to feedback as quickly as we would like”
- “Insecurity with professionals”
- “Services need to be more modern and up to dates”
- “Assistance delay” (Long waiting lists)
Following the identification of these key themes we used the recent Independent review of social care to really draw the groups attention to the missions and recommendations set out relating to the Mental Health of care experienced young people .
- MISSION 5: “To Increase the life expectancy of care experienced people, by narrowing health inequalities with the wider populations”.
- RECOMMENDATION: “The identification and response to poor mental health issues should be a core part of training programmes for any professionals working with children and young people that have involvement with children’s services”.
Their next step as a group will be to explore the “HOW” they can make a difference element of the social action cycle and we will be working closely with our young people over the coming months to really explore these options.
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