22 May 2012

Health and Wellbeing Organisations for Children and Youth in London

Yesterday, the Young Londoner's Participation Network held one of their quarterly meetings. It was on Health and Wellbeing. I was only able to stay for the first part, and wished I could have stayed until the end, but I did get to hear some presentations from a few organisations doing great work for children and youth in London.

Although the projects of my own organisation, CHW, are abroad, we are hoping to partner with other organisations in London to host a service project with a focus on youth, health and sports in the summer (I will post more about this soon!). Also, some of my research has been based on child health and welfare in the UK, so it was amazing to hear from these London-based organisations and learn more about how they work directly with children and young people.

Here is a brief overview of these organisations. They are: Rethink Mental Illness, Living Well, Body & Soul and Young Minds. There was also a presentation by the Greater London Authority Health Team. I have listed links, where you can get more information about each, at the bottom of the post.

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink Mental Illness does a variety of things, including offering advice and information, running services and groups, providing support online and running campaigns, all with the aim of supporting people affected by mental illness. It has a section of its site just for young people, which you can see here.

Leigh, who gave the presentation, especially told us about their programme, Uthink London, which is a learning programme aimed at young people aged fourteen to eighteen. More about Uthink London can be found on this page of the website.

I saw on their page that Uthink London is running a consultation on their Young Siblings Programme. They would like to hear from people aged fourteen to twenty-five who have a sibling with severe mental illness, and who would like to shape the content of their programme. The contact details are at the bottom of the Uthink London page.

Leigh also talked about the campaign, Time to Change, which is led by Rethink and another charity, called Mind. The aim of the Campaign is to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. A programme is being developed that will be especially for children and young people. A pilot scheme is currently underway.

Living Well

Living Well provides a range of holistic services designed to enable people to better manage their health and wellbeing. The presentation yesterday was about their Youth Services.

There is a great range of programmes for people aged thirteen to twenty-five, including:
RITEstart - an interactive health and wellbeing programme;
txtm8 - a free sex and relationships texting service for young people to ask questions confidentially; CluedUP - a peer-led life skills programme for young people;
InForm - a project looking at the barriers and challenges that prevent young men from engaging with sexual health and wellbeing services. The report can be downloaded from the InForm page.
Youth Work Apprenticeships - These are for people aged sixteen to twenty-five who want to gain experience in Youth Work, Sexual Health and Customer Services.

All of their programmes sounded really effective and I also thought it was great that they are offering Youth Work Apprenticeships too.

Body & Soul

Body & Soul promotes the respect, dignity and wellbeing of children, young people and families living with, or affected by HIV. The presentation, by Emily, mostly focussed on Teen Spirit, their programme for people aged thirteen to nineteen, who are either HIV positive or are close to someone who is.  There are Teen Spirit Evenings every Thursday, with workshops, projects and courses. There are other services available too.

Emily also went on to speak about the Campaign, Life in My Shoes. Research commissioned by Body & Soul showed that there was a strong contradiction between what young people knew about HIV and how they said they would behave. For example, 81% knew HIV could not be transmitted by sharing a cup, but only 27% said they would drink from the same cup as someone who was HIV positive. Emily said that facts alone will not be a driving force for change in behaviour and the Campaign aims to address the stigma surrounding HIV, so that others can be more empathetic towards those living with HIV.

Young Minds

Young Minds is committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. They campaign, research and influence policy and practice, as well as providing expert knowledge to professionals, parents and young people, through their Parents' Helpline, online resources, training and development, outreach work and publications.

They will soon be launching the State of Mind Campaign. So far, the State of Mind: Young Londoners' Manifesto for Mental Health has been produced by a group of young people from all over London.

Greater London Authority Health Team

Charlotte Hall spoke about the London Health Improvement Board. This focusses on a few priority areas, and one of importance to children is childhood obesity. There is the Healthy Schools Programme and the Board is also aiming to develop an overall strategy to tackle this issue. The other part of the presentation was about the Mayor's Health Inequality Strategy, which, of course, has an impact on children and young people in London.


Young Londoners' Participation Network
See more information on the London Youth website:
Find London Youth on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LondonYouth
Follow London Youth on Twitter: @LondonYouth

Rethink Mental Illness:
Visit their website: http://www.rethink.org
Visit their page for young people: http://www.rethink.org/young_people/index.html
Find them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RethinkCharity
Follow them on Twitter: @Rethink_

Time to Change Campaign:
Visit the website: http://time-to-change.org.uk/
Visit the page about the children and young person's programme:
Find them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/timetochange
Follow them on Twitter: @TimetoChange

Living Well:
Visit their website http://www.livingwellcic.com
Visit their Youth Services Page: http://www.livingwellcic.com/what-we-do/youth-services/
Find them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/livingwellcic
Follow their Youth Services twitter account: @livingwell4yp

Body & Soul:
Visit their home page: http://bodyandsoulcharity.org
Visit their Teen Spirit page: http://bodyandsoulcharity.org/teens/teen-spirit/#s1
Visit their children's section: http://bodyandsoulcharity.org/children/#s1
Find them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BodySoulCharity
Follow them on Twitter: @bodysoulcharity

Life in My Shoes Campaign:
Visit the website: http://lifeinmyshoes.org
Find them on Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/lifeinmyshoescampaign
Follow them on Twitter: @Life_inmyshoes

Young Minds
Visit their website: http://www.youngminds.org.uk
Find them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/youngmindsuk
Follow them on Twitter: @YoungMindsUK

Greater London Authority Health Team
Visit the Health section of the Greater London Authority website: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/health
Download the Mayor's Health Inequalities Strategy:
Download the One Year On Report on the Health Inequalities Strategy:
Visit the London Health Improvement Board website: http://www.lhib.org.uk

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