Last Thursday, 10 June, over 200 people joined an interactive conference for Children and Young People called “All About Me, For the Benefit of Everyone."
The conference came about through partnership working with the NEL ICS BYCP and Mental Health programmes along with partners across social care, education and voluntary and community organisations.
The aim was to develop the early intervention offer for mental health and emotional wellbeing.
The event was a ‘reverse conference’ – the microphone was handed over to young people, parents and non -mental health professionals
Interactive tools such as Slido, breakout sessions, Jamboards (a digital interactive whiteboard developed by Google) and a panel discussion all featured.
This varied approach allowed for the gathering of critical insight from young people, parents, police, primary care, teachers, school governors, carers, A&E staff, voluntary and community organisations.
The next step is to develop a series of tangible outcomes – likely to be principles and recommendations - through a series of co-production panels over the next few weeks.
These will be presented back via a virtual event and provided to ICS leadership to consider how best to take next steps.
Key themes arising from the conference
Ensuring equity of resources across all NEL boroughs;
Improving accessibility considering language, culture, literacy, cognitive, visual and hearing, and digital poverty;
Communicating each boroughs diverse offer in a central location;
Focussing on early intervention, a diverse offer is required, rather than a focus on crisis. The key is meeting young people and families where they are at rather than forcing them into a medicalised sickness model;
Recognising that the current way of working in mental health is suitable for many but not for all;
Highlighting many positive examples of working differently that could positively impact young people and families, such as:
- Chat Health, social prescribing, Kooth, HeadStart, offering support universally in the evenings at weekend;
- Integrating services was an overwhelming theme throughout all discussions, ensuring the experience of help-seeking is timely, offer a diverse range of options driven by need and co-production.
Reflecting on the event, Dale Greenwood, ELFT Programme Lead: Mental Health in Schools said:
“Attendance on the day was fantastic, with so many people contributing through breakout discussions, activities and the chat was so interactive.
"Young people, families, our partners from across social care, health, education, VCS, police and CAMHS colleagues are committed to working differently, reaching further and ensuring co-production is driving developments to improve outcomes for our young people and families.
"This conference is just the start, we are currently developing recommendations for the ICS from the rich content from the event.”