The Scottish Youth Parliament recently published a report on young people’s awareness and experience of mental health information, support, and services.
The report, based on the responses of 1,483 young people, contains 11 recommendations aimed at various stakeholders.
The full report can be downloaded by clicking here.
The recommendations are:
1. Education Scotland and further and higher education bodies should ensure that all schools, colleges, and universities provide high quality information about mental health, and direct young people to safe online resources such as Aye Mind. Pupils and students should be consulted about the type of information they would like to receive, and be involved in the design of information when appropriate.
2. NHS Scotland should ensure that all GP surgeries and hospitals provide age-appropriate information about local mental health support and services, with particular emphasis on young person-specific support and services.
3. Every school, college, university, and youth group should implement a Mental Health Action Plan to promote mental health conversations and support. The Action Plan should include provisions such as an annual Mental Health Awareness Week, training for young people and staff in Mental Health First Aid, utilising See Me’s What’s on Your Mind resources, providing practical steps to manage stress and anxiety, and promoting local information, support and services.
4. Education Scotland should develop a Mental Health Standard for schools to increase the focus on mental health in the Curriculum for Excellence.
5. Education Scotland, in conjunction with the Scottish Government, should review the provision of counsellors in schools and seek to establish a minimum level of service provision.
6. NHS Education for Scotland should work with young people to update its training and CPD opportunities for frontline medical professionals in supporting young people’s mental health. All GPs and other community-based mental health professionals should receive these opportunities.
7. The Scottish Government’s proposed 10-year mental health strategy should include an increased focus on supporting the mental health of 16 to 26 year-olds, in recognition of this age group’s specific mental health needs separate from children and older adults. The strategy should also facilitate a review of CAMHS, as called for by SAMH.
8. The Scottish Government should ensure that mental health funding is ring-fenced for young person-specific mental health services, and that this funding is shared proportionately between acute, high-intensity services and preventative and early intervention support, such as drop-in centres, peer support, and services provided by the third sector.
9. Scotland’s initiative for involving young people in developing youth-friendly health services, Walk the Talk, should seek to develop a young person-led mental health and wellbeing forum in every local authority.
10. NHS Education for Scotland, in partnership with organisations such as the Mental Welfare Commission, should work with young people to develop a booklet and/or online resource about young people’s rights when accessing mental health support. On first accessing mental health support, all young people should be presented with this resource in an accessible form.
11. All GP surgeries and mental health services should clearly display age-appropriate information about young people’s rights when accessing mental health support, particularly regarding confidentiality rights and their right to an independent advocate.