Invisible Struggles - it's not just a phase
Digital team's blog
This weekend Rethink Mental Illness will be running their Invisible Struggles Conference and showcasing the work of our young champions. In this special blog, Sophie explains why it is important that we go out and talk to young people about mental health.
My name is Sophie, I’m in my first year of university currently studying psychology, and I’m a Rethink Mental Health Champion. I’ve been a champion for almost two years and have been involved in a variety of different projects. I have used mental health services in the past, and due to having bad experiences it made me want to ensure others don’t have to go through the same bad experiences I did. My experiences led to me becoming really passionate about mental health and my work with Rethink has only helped to fuel that fire.
Currently, I am part of a group of young people and professionals organising a youth mental conference on Saturday 29th October in Kensington, West London. I am specifically working on a mood board which will provide biographies of the co-production team, as well as some background on our projects and a variety of helpful contact details. I will be around the board if anyone wants to have a chat or is curious about any information. So please, come and have a look!
I will also be supporting the ‘Chill Out Space’ on the day, offering support to any individuals who feel they need to step out, take a break and drink tea in a safe space.
I believe that young people should attend this conference because there are not many events for young people that focus on mental health. I feel that mental health and wellbeing in young people is often disregarded and is passed off as a “phase”.
I feel young people’s mental health should be treated with more respect and understanding, and this will definitely be served at the conference!
There will be special guest performances from two individuals who will be presenting their thoughts on mental health. They include; Johnny Benjamin, who is an award winning mental health campaigner. Johnny has lived experience and is known for, challenging stigma and discussing what it is like to live with mental illness. The second guest speaker is Hussain Manawer, he is a social entrepreneur and mental health spokesman.
The conference will have interactive workshop sessions where young people can join 2 workshops of their choice. On offer is a Digital Focus Group, Step-up Transitions, Well-being Through Art and a Mental Health Awareness workshop. Each selection is as unique as the other.
Digital Workshop. This workshop will give young people the opportunity to not only evaluate existing apps and services but to also review them. The workshop will also include discussions on what they would do to improve them. This will all be fed back to the commissioners to inform the develop of digital tools for local young people.
Step-up Transitions. This workshop has been co-designed and co-delivered by the Step-up champions. They are a collective of young people with lived experiences working together with professionals. The young people in charge of this workshop are all devoted and passionate about sharing their tips and tools to help others to build up their resilience through interactive activities.
Well-being Through Art. In this workshop we are collaborating with ‘No Bounds’ to offer a workshop that allows young people to share and express their personal story through poetry and lyricism. Moreover, all who attend will have the opportunity to submit their work to I Am Hip Hop for the chance to have their work published in a print magazine!
Mental Health Awareness. This workshop will be delivered by Rethink Mental Illness champions and staff who share their own journeys and experiences of seeking support. This workshop aims to allow young people to have the opportunity to understand the effects of stigma, discrimination and how mental health can manifest in day to day interactions.
The conference will also have a variety of stalls with information from No bounds, Time to change, MIND and Rethink Mental Illness.