Maryport teenagers tackle mental health

30th August 2018

1 in 10 children and young people experience mental health issues at any one time – that’s three pupils in the average school classroom.

Record numbers of children are being referred to mental health services, however, in Cumbria many young people often wait up to 9 months or longer to get this vital help.

Teenagers in Maryport, worried about mental health issues within their community are tackling this issue thanks to £5,000 from the #iwill Fund, awarded to Ewanrigg Local Trust’s ‘We Will’ project.

The ‘We Will’ project is led by a group of young people aged 14-18, some with mental health issues themselves and some concerned about their friends. The youth led project aims to train up to 250 people in Youth Mental Health First Aid. The group have also arranged workshops to bring people together including GPs, health commissioners, teachers and specialists to discuss the issues and opportunities and make campaign plans.

The grant gave the youngsters the skills and confidence to strike up conversations when they were concerned about their own or others mental health. It also made them better equipped to support other young people with the day to day worries associated with mental health, understand their own stress levels and communicate better with those around them.

Rebecca, 16, from the Ewanrigg estate lives with her mum who calls her a ‘hell raiser’ at home. She is one of the leading forces behind ‘We Will’. Rececca has proven to herself that her opinion matters and she can make change happen. She visited London with the Ewanrigg Local Trust, and after navigating trains and tubes and overcoming blisters and self-consciousness, she presented to 400 community leaders at the Big Local conference. Rebecca now wants to be a mental health nurse.

Kate Whitmarsh, Development Officer, said: “This grant has been instrumental in helping young people form their group; undertake extensive research; train their first cohort of Youth Mental Health First Aiders; develop campaign skills and prepare to launch their campaign.

“They now want to train the next cohort of Youth Mental Health First Aiders in their schools, bring more schools into ‘We Will’ and deliver more training in the community.”