Congratulations to everyone at our Middlesbrough Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service for achieving the prestigious Investing in Children (IiC) membership award.
The IiC award recognises and celebrates examples of imaginative and inclusive practice – with children and young people providing the evidence to endorse applications.
“We always put young people at the heart of everything we do,” said Rachel Colley, a psychological therapist with CAMHS and the Getting More Help team in Middlesbrough.
“But we cannot take credit for getting the award, as it was the young people themselves who made this happen – by sharing their honest and open views with Investing in Children.”
Changing things together
The Middlesbrough CAMHS service provides specialist mental health support for young people up to 18, who have emotional, behavioural, or mental health-related difficulties.
The work which helped the CAMHS team earn the IiC award started in the wake of Covid – which had seen the lapse of the once-popular participation group.
“We really felt as a team that there were things we would like to change, but it was important that the young people were involved in the changes which affect them,” said CAMHS clinician Declan Webster.
“The original IiC membership had not been renewed, so we used this as an opportunity to reinstate the group – as well as work towards regaining the award.
“We have already made some changes, based on the dialogue from the young people, and have begun generating ideas for future change for our Getting More Help Team as well.”
Creating a caring environment
Changes pioneered by the young people so far include:
- Updating display boards to make them welcoming – using photos of staff displayed alongside pictures of fictional characters representing their personalities.
- Creating a billboard display of celebrities and fictional characters with neuro diversities – to show people they are more than a label and can achieve great things.
- The production of a participation group newsletter, to discuss points made in meetings, share future plans and encourage others to get involved.
“Our service prides itself on creating a caring, productive and non-judgemental environment for young people. We are delighted this has been recognised by the IiC,” added Rachel.
Examples of positive feedback given by the young people during the IiC award process:
- “Sessions are really relaxed, I feel like they listen to my opinions and want to hear what I have to say.”
- “If you give CAMHS a chance, then CAMHS will take a chance on you.”
- “It’ll be the best thing you ever do.”
- “My problems have all gone from 100 to 20. I probably wouldn’t be as strong and resilient as I am today without it.”
- “I came from down south and I never felt like I was listened to. I feel like that changed when I came here.”
- “It’s a nice, calm place to be in.”
- “I told my worker that sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Whenever I need to take some time out, I can rely on them to calm me down and find a quiet room.”
- “Staff know that I might have trouble getting to a session so sometimes they’ve come to pick me up.”
- “I was a little bit nervous the first time I came, just because you’re meeting new people, but things settled quickly and it was really good to talk about what I’d like to.”
- “It’s always pretty relaxed. I think if it was any different it would be hard to share!”