Young people have their say on mental health

Members of the panel with young people from Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet at the mental health and me event

Young people from across the borough have been having their say about the future of local mental health support services.

The ‘Mental Health and Me’ event, organised by Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet, gave young people the opportunity to put their views to a panel of professionals including Director of Children’s Services at Wigan Council, James Winterbottom, Interim Assistant Director for Education, Cath Pealing, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Jenny Bullen, Director of Operations for North West Boroughs, Lee McNenamy, Director of Commissioned Services at the CCG, Julie Crossley and MP for Leigh, Jo Platt.

Panel member and local GP, Dr Jayne Davies, chairs Future in Mind, a group made up of representatives from health services, schools, Wigan Council and voluntary sector agencies that support young people’s mental health.

Jayne says,

‘The youth cabinet did a fantastic job organising the event. It was amazing to see so many young people there and interesting to listen to their opinions. The event was also an opportunity to launch a questionnaire that young people across the borough will be able to contribute to over the next six weeks. The Future in Mind group is committed to taking on board the results of the consultation as we make decisions about young people’s mental health support services in the future.’

William, 14, from Orrell, is a member of Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet and UK Youth Parliament Member for Wigan and Leigh. As part of his role, William spoke in the House of Commons about the importance of engaging young people in the development of mental health services. He also sat on the panel at the event along with fellow youth cabinet member Daniel, 15, from Astley.

William says,

‘The youth cabinet helped to run a UK Youth Parliament national ballot last year called Make Your Mark, which over 17,000 young people from Wigan Borough responded to. The survey told us that the issue young people most wanted to see improved locally was mental health support. So we knew we wanted to do something about it. I’ve been impressed to see how many young people have come along today; it shows how passionate local young people are about being involved.’

Young people took part in workshops on coping with exam stress, run by Wigan Athletic Community Trust, positive mental health and wellbeing, delivered by State of Mind Sport and resilience training, run by the Willow Project. They also had the opportunity to talk more about their experiences and views in focus groups and on film.

Councillor Jenny Bullen, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, says,

‘We know that getting the right mental health support in place is so important to make sure that our young people can become confident, resilient adults. It’s vital that young people get the support they need with both smaller worries, to help prevent them turning into bigger issues wherever possible and also with more serious mental health concerns. It’s only by listening to young people and letting them inform the choices we make, that we will get this offer right.’ 

Young people can give their views by going to and going to the Have Your Say pages.