Next week, a group of passionate young Islanders will be touring the Isle of Wight with a simple message for their peers – ‘you matter’.
These young people are members of the Isle of Wight Youth Trust’s Mental Health Taskforce, a group of 20 youth mental health ambassadors dedicated to reducing the stigma around mental health and improving mental health services for young Islanders.
Mental Health Awareness Week
With Mental Health Awareness Week taking place from Monday 14th – Sunday 20th May, the Youth Trust and the Taskforce will be visiting the Youth Trust’s existing partner locations to deliver talks and workshops as part of the Youth Trust’s Mental Health Roadshow, including primary and secondary schools and youth centres across the Island.
Youth Trust Director, Mairead Healy said that the Taskforce had been the driving force behind developing the Mental Health Roadshow,
“This Roadshow is the brainchild of our Taskforce, who have been clear that conversations on youth mental health need to be led by young people. We are delighted that so many of our youth ambassadors will be joining us to deliver talks to their peers across the Island.
“The ‘you matter’ message, which we will be focusing on next week, came from our Taskforce. They felt that as young people, they can sometimes be overlooked in decisions about their own mental health needs, which is why we believe that it is important for organisations like the Youth Trust, to work collaboratively with young people across the mental health sector.”
Support from community
Mairead also acknowledged the high levels of community support the roadshow has received
“On behalf of our young people, we would like to thank Southern Vectis who have donated the use of a roadshow bus for the week, our long-term sponsors Wightlink, and our outreach partners for enabling us to make the roadshow happen.”
She further added,
“Here at the Youth Trust, we are unique in the priority that we place on young people leading from the front. We have just undertaken a strategic planning process in which our young people were centrally involved and are now developing our services, based on their input.
“This fits in with our wider vision to deliver youth-led mental health services for young Islanders. Last year was our busiest year ever, with 1,000 young people reaching out to the Youth Trust for support and this year looks like it will be even busier.”
Growing waiting list
Following the closure of the YMCA’s counselling service in October, the Youth Trust’s waiting list has grown significantly.
“We have done our best to meet the unprecedented increase in demand, taking on most of the YMCA’s counselling team, increasing our outreach clinics by 50% and pulling together as a team to streamline our work as much as possible. Despite our efforts – we are still unable to offer young people support as quickly as we would like to, and this is something we are working hard to remedy.
“We believe it is crucial that young people can access support without excessive delays whenever they are brave enough to seek help. We hope that our message, ‘you matter’ will reach all young Islanders and remind them that support is available, and you matter.”
Felicity shares the above news on behalf of the Isle of Wight Youth Trust. Ed
Image: Isle of Wight Youth Trust Team with Richard Tyldsley, General Manager, Southern Vectis