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‘A Voice and A Choice’

A showcase of four years of new ideas and practice for young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Beginning in 2009 Right Here, a five year joint initiative between Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Mental Health Foundation, has supported four regional partnerships to work alongside young people to find new, exciting and effective ways of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of 16 to 25 year olds. The partnerships are in Brighton and Hove, Fermanagh, Newham and Sheffield.

On February 4th 2013 at London’s prestigious Wellcome Collection, the young people and staff of the four Right Here local partnerships came together with mental health and youth work professionals, policy makers and other friends and supporters for ‘A Voice and A Choice’, a one-day event to showcase the work of Right Here, build relationships and begin to explore a way forward for the transformative ideas that the programme has developed.

Right Here defines its mission as ‘Creating responsive services that provide young people with the mental health support and advice they want, when and where they want it.’ Right Here as a programme is about young people and professionals working in partnership to reach that goal. Fittingly, ‘A Voice and A Choice’ was packed with young people. Young people spoke from the main platform. Young people used social media to report the day. Young people delivered sections of workshops and showcases. Young people were involved in the planning and development of the event.

There were 130 attendees, including 35 young people, aged 16 – 25.

This report tries to give a flavour of what was said on the day in some of the formal sessions and to capture some of the conversations that were taking place, and the ideas, observations and experiences that were being shared. To do this it draws from the observations of the author who was present throughout the day as a social reporter and through social media responses and other forms of feedback from delegates and young people. The report would not have been possible without the excellent social reporting of the Right Here social reporting crew.