Young People Freshen Up Mental Health
A group of youngsters launched a campaign to fight the stigma of mental health conditions in children and young people at a special event on Wednesday 20th June.
The ‘FRESH’ campaign aims to promote and increase understanding of mental health conditions affecting millions of young people across the UK. The campaign has been developed by a group of patients who have had experience of Alder Hey’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). They developed the campaign after agreeing that they had all suffered from the awful stigma associated with mental health conditions. Together, they wanted to help change the way specialist mental health treatment is delivered and improve the experience of other young people.
With support from Alder Hey, the group developed a ‘fresh’ way of looking at mental health in children and young people. Along with creating a fitting ‘How you feeling?’ strapline, the group have produced their own campaign logo, developed a dedicated interactive website and produced various merchandise such as badges, t-shirts and soft toys. A social media campaign will drive further awareness with the group encouraging people to talk about mental health and take selfies before sharing them on Twitter and FaceBook using the hashtags #mymoodselfie and #howyoufeelin
The FRESH campaign was officially launched at an event taking place at FACT in Liverpool, where Alder Hey clinicians were available to talk and advise about mental health. FRESH has already gained support from mental health clinicians and key opinion leaders, including Lord Mayor Councillor Erica Kemp.
Joel, one of the young people involved said: “The Fresh campaign is unique and quite truly breath-taking. In just over a year we have managed to wow the Alder Hey board members, along with a few celebrities and members of parliament.
“It’s great to see that we, as service users, are listened too and changes are made as a result of our feedback. It is very rewarding knowing our work will undoubtedly help change the lives of other young people.”
Dr Simon Lewis (Clinical Psychologist at Alder Hey) said: “The FRESH campaign has been created and driven by a group of amazing young Alder Hey patients aged between 13 and 17 who have been attending our Child and Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and who wanted to promote change in attitudes towards mental health conditions. They have worked together for a year to find a way to tackle the negative stigma associated with mental health conditions and to redesign the service here at Alder Hey. We have big plans for our next year!
“This campaign is incredibly important in helping to raise awareness of the difficulties so many children and young people face. One in ten children are affected by mental health problems (around three in each class) and it is likely that over 18,000 children have a mental health condition within Merseyside. CAMHS receives upwards of 5000 referrals per year. Together with my colleagues here at Alder Hey, I have been so impressed by the efforts and determination of these young people to raise awareness, drive change and help others. They have been an inspiration to us all and we hope to continue working closely with them to improve our services. On behalf of Alder Hey, I would also like to thank Erica Kemp, Studio Mashbo, Kaleidoscope, the NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group and all those who have supported this campaign.”
Alder Hey is commissioned as part of a wider CAMHS partnership which includes Young Persons Advisory Service (YPAS), Merseyside Youth Association (MYA), Barnardos Young Carers, PSS Spinning World and ADHD Foundation. Working together in partnership, they deliver mental health support for children and young people and their families across Liverpool.
More information about the FRESH campaign can be found at www.freshcamhs.org
Further information on children’s mental health services available is available at www.liverpoolfyi.com