Originally published in The Barnsley Chronicle 30.6.17 by Alicia Clow. http://bit.ly/2u8TEVI
A Barnsley project has developed a young people’s mental health first aid kit to improve support for mental health issues.
The kits have been produced by young people’s empowerment project Chilypep, and include items such as glitter jars, lavender dough, wristbands and colour therapy books, are aimed at helping young people to cope and resolve a number of mental health issues. Alongside the kit, the organisation has worked with a group of teens to create 31 tips for better mental health – one for each day of the month – designed to manage symptoms alongside support.
It is hoped the kits and advice will be adopted by other organisations, with the first 50 to be distributed among local schools and colleges later this year.
Enabling young people to talk about their issues
Chilypep participation co-ordinator and mental health trainer Chantelle Parke has been working alongside young people to create the kits. She said: “It’s a distraction technique. They include things like squeezing a stress ball instead of punching a wall, or using a marker pen to mark where you would normally cut.”
Part of the Barnsley Local Area Transformation Plan – a collaboration between Barnsley CCG and a group of specially commissioned service providers – for the last two years, Chilypep has also been consulting with young people to improve services, the quality of support available and access. Young people’s mental health services are high on the government agenda and have become a national talking point.
But Chantelle said Barnsley is ahead of the curve: “We’re starting to see lots more around mental health and it has enabled young people to talk about their issues more.”
Chantelle said that school pressures, social media and bullying are high on young people’s list when it comes to things that can cause distress.
“Because of social media, if a young person is being bullied in school, they go home and it’s still happening,” she said.
Every Thursday between 5pm and 7pm Chilypep runs the OASIS Mental Health group at Horizon Community College, where 11 to 25-year-olds are able to find support, learn more about services available and to help shape what is on offer in Barnsley.
Through listening to young people’s experiences of mental health services, the project has discovered there is a commonality between the group’s experiences.
Frequent problems include: repeating the same story over and over again to different healthcare professionals, long waiting lists for support, inability to build a relationship with just one person and a lack of awareness regarding support available.
The transformation plan hopes to use the opinions of the OASIS group to create an online directory of services and improve mental health services in the borough
Young people looking to get involved and inform the future of mental health services in Barnsley can search Chilypep on Facebook or call Chantelle on 07896131676.