No matter how old you are, mental health concerns can affect you at any age. One study found that 1 in 5 children and young people showed signs of anxiety or depression in 2015.
Although there’s growing awareness about mental health, young people don’t always get the support they need.
Becky, a teenage carer, struggled with anxiety for most of her life. She felt there wasn’t enough mental health support for people her age, and that traditional therapies didn't always provide the answers, so she decided to take action. Becky wanted to help others with similar experiences find a way to identify and speak up about their mental health problems, and to help them cope if they hadn’t been seen by a professional.
Volunteering with Healthwatch Dudley and the Dudley Young Health Champions Project, Becky helped launch the ‘Blank Canvas Project’, which uses artistic resources to show some of the emotions people can feel, such as depression, anger and unworthiness. The resources can be used by health professionals to encourage young people to discuss their mental health concerns.
The project has been possible working with lots of local services and organisations, with funding from Dudley Office of Public Health, Dudley CCG and Dudley Council for Voluntary Service. The Blank Canvas Project has been supported by Dudley Public Health, the Children’s Safeguarding Boards and other organisations who are committed to sharing the new resource.
Thanks to Becky’s hard work, young people in Dudley are being better supported to speak up about their mental health.
We’re delighted to hear that Becky was also awarded the Dudley Young Volunteer of the Year in 2017.
The more that people share their ideas, experiences and concerns about NHS and social care, the more services can understand when improvements are needed. But, to make the biggest difference, we need to hear from more people.
You can make a difference. Find out more about our #ItStartsWithYou campaign or share your experience with your local Healthwatch and help make services better for your community. It starts with you.