Barnsley Chronicle: An Oasis has been founded for youngsters

Chilypep’s OASIS group have been hailed Barnsley Young Champions 2019

A GROUP of young people have come together to spread awareness of mental health.

The Oasis group (Opening up awareness and influencing support) is made up of young people aged 14 to 21 who work alongside various mental health services in a bid to improve the support that is available for children and young people who require help.

The group, made up of 18 members, meets weekly at Horizon Community College and they are trained as young commissioners under the ‘Future In Mind’ local area transformation plan and work in Barnsley and at national level.

It is funded through the Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group and led by Chilypep (Children and Young People’s Empowerment Project).

Oasis has participated in projects with Barnsley CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), MindSpace and Barnsley Hospital women’s/maternity and Children’s departments.

It also campaigns to make things better for other young people in relation to key issues that are important to them around mental health.

The OASIS group at a stakeholder delivering their feedback

Its dedication for change and active role within the community, campaigning for better service provision for young people suffering with mental health has been recognised by Chantelle Carmen Parke, the participation and mental health training coordinator for the Children and Young People’s Empowerment Project, and she nominated them for a Young Champions award under the Young Team of the Year for Community category.

She said: “The young people in Oasis have their own lived experience of mental health, accessing services and support and have a passion for making change in mental health and they are truly an inspiration to work with.

“They have worked locally and nationally, working with the Royal College of Psychiatry to have young people’s voices heard within the implementation of the Mental Health Support teams in schools. They have also worked with NHS England to plan the Youth Summit Event around the NHS Long term plan in regards to children and young people’s mental health. Oasis work incredibly hard and they are passionate to make a positive change.

“For a lot of them they are speaking from experience which drives them to work and enforce what they do and it empowers them as well as helping their mental well-being.

“The group work incredibly hard and they deserve to be recognised for the difference they are making not just locally but nationally to help young people suffering with mental health.”

Mental Health Apps: What do young people think?

Mental Health apps are increasingly being used by young people as an extra form of support.

For young people struggling with mental health there’s a new form of support becoming widely available. Not a therapist in a doctors office or a traditional service, this type of support comes from their smart phone and can be reached anywhere there is an internet connection.

2018 has seen an increase in the number of apps available aimed at young people to help support their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

A rise in young people experiencing ill mental health along with severe cuts to services which would traditionally support them has lead to in increase in the number of apps available as well as the number of those downloading and using them. But are they a suitable substitute for traditional support? Which apps should young people use? Where can they find them?

Chilypep spoke to the young people we work with in Barnsley, aged between 15 and 19, to find out what young people really think about this digital support network and found mixed feelings and opinions.

“I think it’s good thatyoung people are turning to self-help methods. It’s easier to access support and self-help on phones and apps especially out of hours.” Said one young person.

Another young person commented “It’s good that we can get some help at anytime through the use of apps but it’s bad that we can’t get that help in person.”

When asked whether the young people found the apps personally helpful one young person said: “Sometimes but not when I’m at crisis point, you need to be calm enough to be rational and able to concentrate to use and understand the apps.” Another said: “I use them as they can give good advice but aren’t always helpful.”

The young people said that some of the most commonly used apps they has personal experience with were Alive, Safety Plan, WYSA, and Calm Harm.

Chilypep have been working with young people in Barnsley with funding from Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group to develop resources for young people experiencing ill mental health.

This includes the groundbreaking Youth Mental Health First Aid Kit which launched in October 2017 and the Open Up Barnsley Directory or mental health services. This includes a guide to young people mental health friendly apps and websites. You can find the Open Up Barnsley Directory here.

Empowerment through poetry

At Chilypep we believe in empowering young people to take positive actions and affect change in their own lives.

Empowerment can take many forms. Whether that’s writing a letter to your MP, taking part in a political demonstration or singing a song about something you believe in. But whatever form it takes, empowerment is all about expressing yourself.

Shannon, a 20-year-old member of the OASIS Group in Barnsley says that she enjoys writing poetry as a distraction and a way of working out her feelings about her mental health.

This powerful poem was written by Shannon and shared with Chilypep for our blog.

Shannon’s poem is a letter to her anxiety

 

 

 

 

Chilypep group highly commended in national awards for Mental Health First Aid Kit

Chilypep’s OASIS group on stage at the awards ceremony with the Mental Health First Aid Kit

OASIS, Chilypep’s  Barnsley-based mental health action group were highly commended in the first National Children and Young Peoples Mental Health Awards.

The awards ceremony was held at Manchester Town Hall on Saturday January 6th and was the first Positive Practice awards to celebrate the work of children and young people across the country who have worked to improve services for their peers struggling with their mental health.

OASIS were shortlisted in the Innovator of the Year category for designing and developing the Mental Health First Aid Kit   in 2017, which launched at Chilypep’s #NotJustMe event on World Mental Health Day.

Chilypep launched the Mental Health First Aid Kit officially on World Mental Health Day.

“We’re delighted to have been highly commended for such an amazing award,” OASIS Project Coordinator Chantelle Parke said.

She continued, “The young people in the OASIS group have worked incredibly hard over the past year to end the stigma around mental health and improve services for other young people in Barnsley. It’s great to see their efforts recognised and is something that will be a positive memory for them as they move forward with their campaigning.”

OASIS Group member Abi with the certificate of commendation at the awards at Albert Hall in Manchester

The OASIS Group meets every Thursday at Horizon College in Barnsley to work on campaigns and engage in lively discussion around how to improve local mental health services and influence the national debate about young people’s mental health.

To find out more about the group or get involved head over to the OASIS project page. 

Chilypep’s OASIS Group nominated for National Award

Members of the OASIS group campaign to improve mental health services for young people.

This article originally appeared in the Barnsley Chronicle on December 29th by Lynsey Bradford 

A Barnsley mental health group for young people is in the running for a national award.

OASIS, which stands for Opening Up Awareness & Support & Influencing Services is a Chilypep group based in Barnsley which aims to give young people a say in how mental health services are run.

The group has been shortlisted for ‘Innovator of the Year’ in the national Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards.

The award recognises children and young people who have taken the lead in planning, organising and delivering projects with a goal to help organisations such as schools, to promote positive mental health and inspire hope in children and young people.

OASIS Lead Project Worker Chantelle Park at the launch of the Mental Health First Aid Kit on World Mental Health Day 2017.

OASIS has developed a Mental Health First Aid Kit which was launched in Barnsley on World Mental Health Day in October 2017 and aims to make mental health more visible in public spaces and help young people struggling with ill mental health to ask for help.

Lead Project Worker Chantelle Parke said: “The shortlisting is a credit to the hardworking, passionate and creative young people in the OASIS group and their commitment to finding new and exciting ways to end the stigma around mental health and improve services for young people. The launch of the Mental Health First Aid Kit was a huge success and we look forward to seeing how it will be taken forward by schools, colleges and mental health services in the future.”

Patrick Otway, mental health commissioner at Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a real credit to the young people involved in OASIS. Speaking up and getting involved isn’t always easy and they have really done themselves proud this year.”

The winner will be announced at the awards on January 6th.