Dumfries & Galloway Health & Social Care

Region’s mental health youth forum in running for top award

A GROUP of young people in the region aged 11 to 25 are in the running for a top award in recognition for their work around speaking out on mental health issues.

The Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Youth Forum are volunteers from across Dumfries and Galloway who are either currently accessing services or have in the past.

And on November 24, they will be attending the Dumfries and Galloway Youth Awards at Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries as finalists in the Health and Wellbeing category.

Alison Telfer is CAMHS Participation Lead, and she said: “We are delighted for our CAMHS Youth Forum that they have been recognised for all of their excellent work and are finalists within the Dumfries and Galloway Youth Awards.

“Our forum members play an extremely important role in informing and shaping our approaches to delivery of services, as well as raising wider awareness around mental health issues affecting young people.”

The CAMHS Youth Forum was established online by NHS Dumfries and Galloway during COVID lockdown, and the young volunteers are all passionate about sharing their lived experiences with others, challenging attitudes and behaviours associated with mental health, using creative, fun and innovative ways to do this.

Erin is a member of the CAMHS Youth Forum, and she said: “Being part of the forum is such an amazing opportunity for me and all the young people involved.

“I have been able to share my own personal experiences and feelings to try and help better the service. I have gained a lot of confidence through this forum and can now confidently talk to new people, meet new friends and have realised that other people are passionate about the same things I am.

It’s amazing that us young people are able to be involved and talk to professionals about what we feel needs improvement within CAMHS as although we are the future of the service, we are also the present and we know what our generation needs right now.

“It is brilliant that we, as a forum, can help promote how important looking after our mental health is because in reality, everyone has mental health, some people just need more help with theirs and that’s totally okay! We need to show people that they are not alone and it is okay to reach out for help. We need to break the stigma.”

Rhianna is a member of the CAMHS Youth Forum, and she said: “This whole experience has been incredible, with so many more opportunities that we have been able to get involved in, speaking with policy makers, sharing our experiences within a national webinars, co-producing and designing resources and developing a new CAMHS website alongside health professionals.”

CAMHS are a specialist NHS community-based service throughout Dumfries and Galloway, which provides services for children and young people up to the age of 18 who are experiencing moderate to severe mental health difficulties.

CAMHS provide multi-disciplinary assessment, understanding and treatment for the difficulties that children, young people and families are experiencing.

If you would like to speak with a mental health professional or make a referral into CAMHS either contact: (01387) 244662 or email; dg.camhs-mail@nhs.scot