MH: 2K - Central Lancashire - A youth-led approach to exploring mental health
Mental health conditions affect about 1 in 10 children and young people, with 75% of mental health problems in adult life, excluding dementia, starting before age eighteen. Given this, it is perhaps unsurprising that young people consistently identify mental health as a priority issue.
MH:2K seeks to give young people a role in solving this most important of challenges. Focusing on those with mental health issues and from at-risk groups, it empowers young people to shape decision-makers' understanding of both the mental health challenges they face and what solutions could look like.
About MH:2K Central Lancashire
From September 2017 to July 2018, Leaders Unlocked ran MH:2K in Central Lancashire, supported by South Ribble Borough Council, Chorley Council, Preston City Council, the Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Wellcome Trust.
MH:2K Central Lancashire engaged over 1150 local young people with diverse life experiences. Its participants chose to focus on five areas of challenge for young people around mental health:
- Social media and use of language;
- Education and prevention;
- Professionals and services;
- LGBTQ+ young people;
- Young men.
Over 50 local and regional decision-makers and researchers took part in the project's Local Advisory Panel or one of its events.
The MH:2K Report
The full MH:2K report (800.15kb) can be downloaded here.
The report presents MH:2K Central Lancashire's design, findings and recommendations, and initial impacts.
The Conclusion of the report
MH:2K Central Lancashire has achieved the aims it set out to deliver. It has empowered 14-25 year olds to:
- Identify the mental health issues that they see as most important;
- Engage their peers in discussing and exploring these topics;
- Work with key local decision-makers and researchers to make recommendations for change.
In addition the project has had, and looks set to have, significant impacts. This is true of its effect on both participating young people, and on decision-makers and researchers.
MH:2K's independent evaluator will return to Central Lancashire within a year period to see what has changed as a result of MH:2K's recommendations. We look forward to seeing the progress that has been made.
What has happened as a result?
In Central Lancashire the following has happened as a result of the MH:2K;
- CHAMS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) redesign held over the summer of 2018 included evening feedback and mini consultations with young people selected by MH2K partners in Chorley and South Ribble to review the work done in the redesign sessions during the day. Citizen researchers and other young people did come along to the sessions held at the Gujarat Hindu Centre on South Meadow Street. This was the service run throughout Lancashire and included links to treatment, support and aftercare including diagnosis and treatment protocols.
- LGBTQ young person's group set up in Preston, with help from LCC Children and Families Welfare Support. This means that young LGBTQ can meet up and support each other or just socialise in a supported environment.
- Prestons College creating peer to peer videos with regards to young men and dealing with mental health. This has been run as a module of the media course and will be released in January 2020. Citizen Researchers have helped with pitch days and giving feedback. The videos will challenge the stigma associated with men's mental health, the worries young men may have and also give some signposting to further help.
- Runshaw College are doing peer to peer videos around LGBTQ young people's experience. This will also be run as a module of the media course, with Citizen Researcher contributing to the development. On course for completion in early spring 2020, will challenge stigma around LGBTQ mental health, highlight the specific challenges associated with LGBTQ mental health, signpost to support and advice and also help educate people who may not understand the issues associated with LGBTQ - including coming out, transgender journey, imitation and coping with hate crime.
- Helping to give young people a voice around mental health the Citizen Researchers have agreed to carry on and recruit new people to attend meetings, develop project ideas and help develop an award for people who support young people's mental health exceptionally well, the first of which is planned to be held in 2020 as part of a celebration of MH:2K.