A conference to address mental health services for young people in West Sussex was held in Horsham last week.
The ‘Free Your Mind Convention’ was organised by members of the West Sussex Youth Cabinet, Horsham Young People’s Empowered Representatives (a joint initiative between Horsham Matters and Horsham Town Community Partnership) and Worthing Council with the help of West Sussex County Council.
Held at Horsham’s County Hall North on Tuesday October 28 it aimed to raise awareness and tackle stigma around mental health issues for young people, improve access to information, and ask how services could be improved.
The day included a series of workshops, looking at a range of subjects such as how young people want to access mental health information, and a question and answer session.
Kai Moore, who co-founded Free Your Mind, told the conference: “I think for young people it’s very difficult, all this stress from school and college and university and family expectations.
“Sometimes all that stress can build up and it’s important to know there are places to go to. That’s why all these organisations are so important. There is that support out there.”
Afterwards Kai, 20, who is from Crawley but is now studying at the University of Reading said: “I think it’s going to be something that will continue for years but getting these initial steps are really important and just talking about it.”
Julie Ivey, information advice and guidance service manager at FindItOut, is currently leading a pilot in Crawley and Worthing offering emotional wellbeing support to those who do not meet the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services criteria.
She said: “We want to raise awareness as many young people do not get clinical intervention because their issues are not related to mental health it relates to environmental factors.
“But they need support and that’s what we do with our services.”
More information about mental health issues and services can be found at www.yourspacewestsussex.co.uk by searching ‘emotional wellbeing & mental health’.