Young people have plenty to say about mental health and about their experiences of the services available to support them. On Saturday July 12th, I was lucky enough to be invited to run a practical session at the NHS Youth Forum event, held at the BMA. Our aim was to create a 3D map of our responses to positive mental health. Using a range of materials, participants gave expression to their ideas, experiences and wishes. They worked collaboratively or alone, according to their own preference, and took time to reflect or share ideas with others. A recurring theme was the value of having time and opportunity to create something unique and personal. A simple activity can give rise to conversation – sometimes quite deep – which a ‘talking forum’ doesn’t always support.
Some participants enjoyed watching and learning from others. All of them made something to add to the map and they shared their thought processes if they wanted to. The things people can make from ‘bits of old stuff’ can leave you gob-smacked!
Dr. Cleo, sitting at the table and trying to make sense of it all was made by art therapist, Saskia Neary, with some of the session participants. We want health professionals and those in power to listen to the views of young people and recognise that we need a national strategy to build positive mental health. We don’t need to whisper about it or find out about provision on the door of a public lavatory.
The final image here shows the path from ideas to action. See what I mean? I’d never have come up with this installation but it’s brilliant.
Box of thoughts. ‘We didn’t have an idea what to do, so we made this together.’
Dr Cleo. Ready to listen but where are her ears?
Come ride with me, but don’t tell me what to do.
Take time to experience lovely things.
Let your services have time and resources to treat us all as individuals.