“The way I know mental health, is when people have big barriers in front of them and they can’t get through it”
In a survey of 338 Schools in 2016, 55% had experience a large increase in cases of stress and anxiety amongst young people. In an evolving initiative to understand and support young people’s mental health and wellbeing, Milton Keynes Council Public Health and NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) created an innovative project called You, Me, Together, supported with investment from Artswork, the South East Bridge, and delivered in partnership with the MK Cultural Education Partnership (led by Arts & Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes).
The creative learning charity, Artis, worked with 150 young people and children in four Milton Keynes schools. The aim of this project was to gain a better understanding of how children and young people in MK perceived mental health, to get them to understand and identify mental health and wellbeing in others (you), in themselves (me), and to support each other (together).
Jill Wilkinson, Director of Health and Social Care Integration at NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group and Chair of the Children and Young Peoples Mental Health and Wellbeing Transformation Programme said: “Our commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of the children and young people in Milton Keynes is one of the key aims of the CCG. We commissioned the You, Me, Together film as we were keen to hear from the voices of children on whose behalf we commission mental health services. We have continued to invest in child and adolescent mental health services and to work across the whole system to improve their overall experience.”
Muriel Scott, Director of Public Health at MK Council said: “To learn more about how young people and children understand mental health and wellbeing, we needed to ask the experts –the young people themselves. This project not only helped schools engage with what mental health and wellbeing is and why it’s so important to talk about it, but it also gave us a great insight into how young people perceive it and express it. I’m incredibly proud of how well the project worked and I’m confident it’ll help us to help the young people and children in MK.”
A film about the project was created to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing in young people, what it means to them and to open up a conversation. What is mental health and wellbeing and what can we all do to improve things?