|Taboo subjects need to be broken say youth|
|Friday, 08 July 2011 14:40|
Young people have spoken out in London about breaking down the stigma associated with mental health and the need for diverse support.
(From left: NYRG members Abaya Clarke, 'Spike' Seth Orion and Mariam Ahmen)
The stigma surrounding mental health and getting help from a counsellor was also raised. Seth Orion, also known as Spike, said that although people will look down on people who seek counselling he believes that "if I'm being helped I think that's a good thing to me. The stigma that seeking help for mental health is a bad thing needs to be removed."
He continued: "Taboo subjects need to be broken. Once you break it, it's perfect, people will talk about these issues more."
Many of the young people at the event felt that there was a certain level of social exclusion faced by young BMEs in the country. Many felt that although they were born in the UK they were excluded from services and expressed the importance of "good signposting" in terms of the need for open minded and diverse people from all cultures and backgrounds.
The report, 'Enjoy, Achieve and Be Healthy' was commissioned by the Afiya Trust due to the ongoing failures in the public sector in areas of education, health and social care to address the needs of BME children and young people. The report highlights the emergence of BME children receiving insufficient and ineffective provisions due to their age and ethnicity.
(From left: Development worker and report author Mhemooda Malek, NYRG members Abaya Clarke, Mariam Ahmen, 'Spike' Seth Orion and Tamzin Taylor-Rosser NYRG Coordinator)
(From left: Lucie Russell of young Minds and Sue Baker, Director of Time for Change)
It is estimated that around 20 per cent of children and young people are believed to have a mental health problem, yet there is no indication how many are from a BME background. The many risk factors highlighted for children and young people regarding mental health fail to include racism, racial harassment or racist bullying.
Mica Walters, a member of the Family Health Isis young people’s group 'Ubuntu', said that Enjoy, Achieve and Be Healthy taught her that there is always a way to tackle things that appear difficult in a fun and effective way.
"It found a way to shed light onto the lives of mental health sufferers and people who are responsible for them. What I loved most about this event was that it ran well, had good time allocation and that kept everyone on task. Most importantly, it made a lasting impression. The knock-on effect of this event is that I am more informed and empathetic when I meet young carers and people experiencing mental ill health,” continued Ms Walters.
The young panel members said that services must make use of social networks to engage with young people. They mentioned networks like twitter, facebook and the "odd text" as some of the best ways to reach young people.
One of the young attendees to the report launch, Daniel Francis, a member of the young men's group Sankofa Sesa, said that it was about time that the views of young people in mental health were taken into account.
"I found the young people on the panel to be very good and I can relate to their experiences," said Mr Francis.
(From left: Development worker and report author Mhemooda Malek, Sankofa Sesa young mens group members Daniel Francis, Carl Gayle and Marcus Hilton)
Afiya Trust’s chief executive Patrick Vernon plans to present the report to Paul Burstow, Minister for Care Services. The aim is to ensure that the implementation of the new mental health strategy, which for the first time includes children and young people, reflects the voice and experiences of BME children and young people.
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