On 9 October 2020, the Welsh Youth Parliament’s Emotional and Mental Health Support Committee launched its first report ‘Let’s Talk About Mental Health.’
Everything we have done up to this point has led to this launch. Months of planning; months of discussion; months of research. All these efforts have culminated in this.
Being a member of the Welsh Youth Parliament this year has been phenomenal, especially as part of the Emotional and Mental Health Support Committee. I’ve had the opportunity to meet new people and, despite my late joining, everyone has been so welcoming.
Researching for this report has been very rewarding – I’ve been able to talk to some incredible people and hear their stories, all while learning more about my own wellbeing.
As part of our work, we organised workshops throughout Welsh Youth Parliament Week, including one with Sion Jenkins – ITV Wales correspondent and presenter of both ‘Y Byd ar Bedwar’ and ‘Ein Byd’. Here, we heard the thoughts of young people about the current provision for mental health in Wales, information that was vital for the development of our report.
Due to the current pandemic, we have had to completely rethink the way we functioned – no more meeting in the Chamber, unfortunately! Nevertheless, we’ve adapted, joining regular meetings on Microsoft Teams, focusing on our social media presence and communicating through this. Indeed, while the pandemic has made our work more difficult, it has brought us closer together.
A common theme of the report was certainly that it’s vital that we improve young people’s confidence to access support. We identified that young people want more frequent discussions in school in order to raise awareness. We agree with those who responded to our survey and are calling for more conversations in schools, colleges and youth groups. Many identified issues with CAHMS – issues that were highlighted throughout our own discussions as a committee.
Overall, I am so proud of this report and the work that has been conducted by our committee. I truly feel that this report and the conversations that stem from it have the ability to truly make a difference. I hope that the Welsh government addresses our recommendations and responds to the thoughts of the youth.
After all, we are the future. I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Welsh Youth Parliament this year and I am certain that future committees will contribute even more to young people’s lives.