Championing the voices of children and young people

Dudley Young Health Champions supports 11-25 year olds to develop their own projects with a health focus based on issues that matter to them. The project began in September 2016 with funding from Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, The Dudley Council Public Health Team and Dudley CVS. Led by our co-ordinator the project is located within Healthwatch Dudley and is helping with our important priority of championing the voices of children and young people.

There are now more than 100 Young Health Champions in schools, colleges and local youth organisations as well as 10 Young volunteers who regularly support the project.

During the last year, through the project young people have:

  • Raised awareness of organ donation
  • Taken part in safeguarding and suicide prevention training
  • Designed and delivered an exam stress workshop to 100 primary school children
  • Created a mental health resource pack (see opposite page)
  • Made their own mental health first aid boxes
  • Listened to the views of teenage parents
  • Hosted a workshop for other young people about emotions
  • Taken part in a debate about mental health
  • Shared their views on accessing pharmacy services
  • Developed a transgender dysphoria training course and pack to support professionals in school and community settings
  • Shared views about what it means to ‘thrive as a child in Dudley’.

 

The start of my journey… Creating a resource pack helping young people to explore their emotions and feelings

“My name is Becky, I am 19 and for the last eight years I have struggled with my mental health. I find it hard talking to people and find it easier to share how I feel through words and pictures. As a Young Health Champion I wanted to do something that would not only help me but would also benefit other young people.”

Becky has been supported by the Young Health Champions Project to transform her powerful artwork into a ‘blank canvas’ pack containing 14 postcards with Becky’s words, describing how each image makes her feel. The cards address important issues including guilt, anger, embarrassment, identity and hurt

and combine this with positive actions including mindfulness, helpful contacts and a blank ‘future card’ for young people to complete when they feel more able to experience joy.

Through the project, Becky worked with youth campaigning organisation Fixers to transform her artwork and words into a powerful film, that will be used with her resource pack to encourage other young people who find it hard to talk about their emotions to get much needed support.

The pack and film were launched in May 2018 and will be used in a wide range of health, educational and community settings to support other young people with their emotional health.

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