Students from Thomas Clarkson Academy speak out on mental health for a new report aimed at shaping future of services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Cambridgeshire Healthwatch have published a report on young people's mental health in the county inc

Cambridgeshire Healthwatch have published a report on young people's mental health in the county including speaking to students at the Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

Students at Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech were among 500 teenagers who helped provide information for a new report on mental health in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Rita Nunes Cambridgeshire Healthwatch's youth engagement worker, who led the project looking into m

Rita Nunes Cambridgeshire Healthwatch's youth engagement worker, who led the project looking into mental health in young people in the county. - Credit: Archant

The findings of the report ‘Being Happy, Being Me’ from Cambridgeshire Healthwatch, which was published to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week will be used to develop services for local young people.

In it, young people explain what they think about the language used to describe mental health, what their experiences of services have been and how they would like to get help.

Rita Nunes and Emma Amez, Camridgeshire Healthwatch project workers, found young people can be confused about the words used to describe mental health and wellbeing.

Cambridgeshire Healthwatch have published a report on young people's mental health in the county inc

Cambridgeshire Healthwatch have published a report on young people's mental health in the county including speaking to students at the Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech. The report contains numerous graphics illustrating the project's findings. - Credit: Archant

It also found more needs to be done to address issues around stigma and encourage young people to understand mental health needs to be nurtured.


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Rita and Emma spoke to over 500 young people at four secondary schools in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including the Wisbech school.

Around one in seven of the young people had experience of using mental health services. They also gave ideas on what would help make mental health support work well for them.

Cambridgeshire Healthwatch have published a report on young people's mental health in the county inc

Cambridgeshire Healthwatch have published a report on young people's mental health in the county including speaking to students at the Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech. The report contains numerous graphics illustrating the project's findings. - Credit: Archant

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More than half wanted to get information about staying emotionally healthy from an adult they knew or trusted.

If they needed counselling, most preferred the option of face to face counselling, although there was interest in getting counselling online.

Teachers spoke of their own concerns about how pupils’ mental health problems are dealt with by GPs. For example, one child was hearing voices and the parents were told to go back to their school for a referral.

Teachers were concerned about a lack of counselling support in schools and they wanted more training so they could better support pupils.

The ‘Being Happy, Being Me’ project is part of a programme of work to help health and care commissioners understand what will help young people keep emotionally well.

Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City, Council and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group who funded the project are working together to develop a new way of providing mental health care for young people, called ‘I-THRIVE’.

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