On Tuesday 14th November Hannah Biggs attended the National Youth work Conference hosted by YouthLink Scotland and NHS Health Scotland at the Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld. The theme of the conference was “Young People, Mental Health and Wellbeing.” The day involved a number of plenary presentations as well as interactive breakout sessions about work being undertaken across youth work to support the mental health of children and young people.
Plenary presentations included:
Amy Lee Fraioli, MSYP and Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) who spoke about SYP’s campaign last year, Speak your Mind (which we featured in SCPHRP’s Spring Magazine), which focused on mental health and culminated in a research report called Our Generation’s Epidemic. Amy also talked out SYP’s new campaign, Right Here, Right Now, which will focus on respecting, protecting and promoting young people’s rights. Read more about the SYP in our Spring magazine 2017.
Maureen Watt MSP, Minister for Mental Health talked about the new Mental Health Strategy and what the Scottish Government aims to do to support and protect the mental health of children and young people. This included investing in evidence-based interventions that focus on prevention and early intervention.
Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director Healthcare Quality and Improvement, Scottish Government talked about the importance of personalising the delivery of care and gave the example of www.whatmatterstoyou.scot
The impact on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people was a recurring theme throughout the day. Cathy Richards, Lead Clinician Head of CAMHS Psychology in NHS Lothian talked about the links between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and mental health and the evidence that having support from an “always available” adult that a young person trusts can help mitigate against the effect of ACEs. NHS Health Scotland also ran a showing of the documentary “RESILIENCE” and Dr Ross Whitehead from the University of St Andrews talked about how ACEs are reported in the HBSC survey.
The day concluded with presentations on; pan Europe work being undertaken to share learning on youth work in different countries (presented by Caroline Vink from The Netherlands Youth Institute); a personal account of the positive impact youth work had on supporting a young person’s mental health through difficult times (by Dave Keenan); the Year of Young People 2018 and the launch of the National Youth Work Awards (by Rachael McCully and Steven Mann from Communic18).