Mental Health & Wellbeing: Young Healthwatch

Giving young people a voice to shape health and social care

What are we doing?

Young Healthwatch is the youth arm of Healthwatch Central West London. It exists to give young people a voice to shape local mental health services in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea.

Our dedicated group of Young Healthwatch volunteers meets weekly, to catch up, connect, and plan projects. Young Healthwatch's current work is centred around engaging local young people to talk about their mental wellbeing and how services can work better for them, conducting research and community listening projects, and influencing service provision by sharing detailed insights and recommendations with decision makers like service commissioners and local councillors.

Through Young Healthwatch I get to meet so many new people and engage in interesting discussions on mental health. I have developed so many valuable skills throughout my time so far.

 

Rupert, Young Healthwatch volunteer

What have we been working on recently?

Bridging The Gap: Our mental health survey

In 2020, Young Healthwatch ran a mental health survey. The survey was aimed at finding out how young people think about their mental health, what causes them stress, and how COVID-19 has impacted on their general wellbeing. We received a fantastic response to the survey, with over 200 young people sharing their experiences with us.

We created a report designed to influence local decisions on mental health provision for young people. Our work was highlighted by Healthwatch England, and we shared our insights with decision makers at regional level, with local councils, NHS Trusts, Public Health England, and various community partners.

 

COVID-19 engagement: Our Young Wellbeing Q&A

In March 2021 we brought together experts from Imperial College NHS Trust, Kooth, One Westminster, Connecting Care For Children and RBKC Youth to hold an online webinar on youth health and wellbeing, COVID-19 anxieties, education and more. At the event we had presentations from our panelists before young people had the chance to put their questions to the experts in a live Q&A.

Part of a series of work we have carried out centred on COVID-19 related engagement, our event gave young people the opportunity to ask questions and receive information from health experts in a safe and trusted environment.

 

Sharing our work: Our appearances on One Community Radio

In May and October 2020 volunteers from Young Healthwatch appeared on CNWL’s One Community Radio show to share our work with residents, service users, NHS staff and community organisations.

In our first appearance, our volunteers Civan, Jane, and Rupert talked about the need to end stigma around mental health problems. We talked about the priority given to physical health over mental health, the benefits of psychotherapy and the need for greater mental health awareness for people of all generations. In our second appearance, we hosted an interactive quiz that debunked myths around various mental health conditions.