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Youth Advocacy Service

YES – the Youth Empowerment Service – was set up to support young people with mental health difficulties who are in Willow Grove. Some members of the YES panel are people who previously used Willow Grove services or other mental health supports.

YES – the Youth Empowerment Service – was set up to support young people with mental health difficulties who are in Willow Grove. Some members of the YES panel are people who previously used Willow Grove services or other mental health supports.

The YES youth panel ensures that young people have an authentic voice in the development of adolescent mental health services through:

  • reviewing documents used in the adolescent and young adult service
  • participating in the recruitment and selection process of staff employed to work in Willow Grove Adolescent Unit
  • being involved in mental health awareness raising campaigns
  • youth organisations
  • adolescent mental health initiatives locally, nationally and internationally.
  • advocating for advocacy in youth mental health.

Members of the panel have received training in the area of advocacy, child protection, mental health/mental illness, self-care (mindfulness) and in digital media production, in line with the Youth Advocacy Project development plan.

The young people who are in Willow Grove have access to a trained advocate who conducts group advocacy sessions fortnightly, informing the young service users of their human rights, their rights as citizens and as service users, supporting them to self- advocate. Information is available to the young people and their parents through a number of information points in the Willow Grove unit and through the information centre in the main hospital.

Panel members have also established a Community Links programme which they deliver to young people in Willow Grove. The Community Links programme supports young service users to reintegrate into their communities once they leave the Willow Grove service. The manual for this programme is being developed to make it available to other adolescent mental health services.

The YES panel has developed & delivered presentations for secondary school transition year students and for academic staff at St. Patrick’s, as well as presenting a poster and a paper at the International Conference on Youth Mental Health in Brighton, 2013 and in Montreal, Canada in 2015. The panel has written, produced and performed a one act play – “Masks” – relative to young people’s mental health. Members of the panel are representatives on the ACAMH Special Interest Group.

The coordinator represents the service at senior staff meetings in St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services, at general advocacy committee in the hospital and at national and international agencies concerned with children’s rights and mental health.

Mental Health School Flag Project

Mental Health School Flag Project