Pupil Power bolsters mental health services for Greenwich teenagers

The country’s first Young People’s Mental Health Charter shaped by school pupils was launched on Tuesday 30th June, by students at Corelli College Co-operative Academy in Blackheath.

The Young People's Mental Health Charter, which aims to improve mental health outcomes for young people in Greenwich, is a joint initiative between Greenwich students, local GPs and the community organising alliance Citizens UK, with support from Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England.

Last year, Citizens UK provided students from Corelli College Co-operative Academy with training on community organising techniques. The students put that training into action to design the Young People's Mental Health Charter and came up with a wealth of ideas for improving mental health provision, such as:

  • Improved outcomes for young people who miss appointments with local Children and Adolescence Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • Mental Health First Aid training for young people
  • Urging the NHS to make better use of digital technology to engage with young people

Other schools, colleges and youth groups from Citizens UK are now looking to emulate the work of Corelli College Co-operative Academy's students, including St. Paul's Academy in Abbey Wood.

The Academy's students have been previously praised for their work on ensuring young people receive mental health early intervention services. 

Natalia Feistauer, 16, from Corelli College Co-operative Academy said:

"I felt so powerless seeing people around me go through Mental Health issues. Now my friends and I know that we can change things to really help young people. I feel proud of our charter and so glad that NHS Greenwich CCG, along with NHS Oxleas and Greenwich Public Health have agreed to work with us. This is just the beginning."

Local GP Dr Ranil Perera is a GP commissioner and GP Mental Health Lead with NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group. He said:

"It has been nothing short of amazing to work with students from Corelli College Co-operative Academy and other Greenwich schools to improve mental health services for Greenwich’s teenagers. The students were brimming with ideas and buzzing with a heartfelt commitment to make sure every young person gets the help and support they need."

Duncan Selbie
, Chief Executive, Public Health England, said:

"I’m delighted to see the students and staff at Corelli College Co-operative Academy show just how schools are able to work with local organisations and together create innovative ideas to improve mental health and wellbeing in their areas. It’s great to see children being given the opportunity to help themselves – and I hope Corelli proves inspirational to other schools in Greenwich and indeed wider, to develop similar joint initiatives like this which have the potential to make a real difference to young people’s lives."

Dean Coffey
, 15, from St. Paul's Academy in Abbey Wood, said:

"This charter will actually made a positive change for people I know. Now I'm inspired to take action with my classmates on Mental Health and listen for issues. Seeing the different schools from Citizens UK coming down to see the event gives me hope we can make a real difference."

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