By Dr Ann York:
Take time to be. That was a message from Tracy Parr as she opened our Shared Learning event on children and young people’s mental health on 3rd July. Over 130 people took time from their busy schedules to listen, question, reflect and feel, soaking up the nutrients that were flowing during this amazing day.
We heard about what NHS England & Improvement are doing both in the policy team (Sarah Brown) and specialised commissioning (Vimbai Egaru) to support the tremendous improvements in the offer to children and young people as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. The vision is for 340,000 more children and young people will be able to access specialist help by 2022/23 as a result of new investment, including mental health support teams in schools and making services post 18 years young people friendly. In the afternoon we heard from Forward Thinking Birmingham and The Hive in Camden about how they were delivering to this extended age range.
The Health and Care Vision for London and its development was presented and stimulated bold ideas for how London continue its journey to be the healthiest global city for everyone but especially for children and young people.
Catherine McAllister, Head of Safeguarding and Child Protection at the BBC presented the new BBC app called Own It, due for an autumn release. It is focussed on helping young people to manage online life, full of tools and prompts through a highly interactive and intuitive interface driven by artificial intelligence that learns through a unique keyboard. It looked amazing!
Just after lunch we were moved by the performance by Izzy and Jake from Here, Queer and Mentally Unclear. They shared their experiences of mental health, LBGT+, stigma and labelling using powerful musical stories and discussion. Sobering yet positive and compassionate. We can all do so much better in noticing and celebrating diversity.
As I walked back to Waterloo station that evening, lost in the spin of thoughts stimulated by the day, I realised I was not the only one to have this experience. Several people came up to me as I walked, wanting to tell me how powerful, informative and enjoyable the event had been. We had all been changed by taking time out to just be present and enjoy such a rich landscape of content.
The presentations from the day can be found here