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Being a young person is hard in 2022 at the best of times. Dealing with your mental health and everything that growing up throws at you only adds to this. Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust wants to help relieve some of the pressure on young people by offering them support on a range of issues they may be facing with their mental health, along with giving them places to voice their options on how they feel services help them. At SPFT, we provide CAMHS service across Sussex and Hampshire; however, we want to do more and are always looking at ways to provide the best care to our users.

Firstly, we offer a place for young people to come and help shape the care we provide for young people at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust. The Youth PPI Café offers the chance for young people looking to help shape research. Our Café runs each Wednesday and is split into two sessions for 11-15- and 16-24-year olds. Having different age range sessions ensures we are getting a more accurate representation of each age range's experiences with mental health and treatment.

Following on from this, we want to ensure that when a young person decides to take the step to ask for help, we can provide support quickly. Unfortunately, due to increased wait times and more people seeking treatment, it's not always possible to offer support as fast as we would like. This is where our Mental Health Support Team can help us provide care and create an environment where young people can gain support quicker. The Mental Health Support Teams is designed to deliver mental health support and low-intensity interventions to young people in primary and secondary schools and colleges across the UK. So, what do the MHSTs do? Their main aim is to help young people gain access to help early before their difficulties become severe and require specialist services. They do this by working with schools and colleges to promote the concept of a whole school approach to mental health and emotional wellbeing. This can be in the form of training schools on providing support to their students, along with teaching them warning signs. So far, more than 42,000 children benefit from Mental Health Support Teams based in schools across West Sussex, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove. Over the next three years, that figure will increase to 120,000 as more teams are rolled out.

Most recently, we joined forces with a range of other care providers across Sussex and Hampshire as part of the Sussex Youth Mental Health 'call to action' Summit in Brighton. On June 16th, we joined representatives for the education, voluntary, community sector, children's social care and local authorities along with young people themselves; to pledge our support and help develop ambitions around community-based emotional wellbeing and mental health youth interventions for 16-25year olds. In support of the event, Member of Parliament for Chichester and Minister of State for Care and Mental Health, Gillian Keegan MP, gave the opening address by video message to all attendees thanking them for their dedication to improving mental health and wellbeing services for children and young people across Sussex.

"The last two years have been particularly difficult for our children and young people with their lives and education disrupted but, as we learn to rebuild and learn to live with Covid-19, it is vital that we support our children and young people with their mental health and wellbeing."



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