Making a difference to young people and teenagers' mental health

13 December 2016

Fiorella Massey

By Fiorella Massey, Chair of the Friends of the Foundation

I was honoured in November, and in my capacity of Chair of the Friends of the Foundation, to present the Carer Contributor of the Year Award at the Royal College of Psychiatry Awards ceremony.

The winner, Jenny Langley has worked tirelessly to improve care and support for teenagers with eating disorders. She is an inspiration through her desire to help and her capacity to reach those in need.

Jenny recently presented a seminar on ‘Mental Health, Stress & Anxiety’ to over 200 staff and parents at a school in the south-east, she focussed on how we can foster emotional wellbeing for all students both in school and at home and gave practical tips about what to say and more importantly what not to say. This practical advice is crucial if we as parents are to help and support our children, but it is also essential that we equip children themselves with the tools and knowledge to withstand the onslaught of pressures they face in our modern world. I applaud the Royal College of Psychiatrists for recognising these efforts. 

Like Jenny, the Mental Health Foundation have pioneered ground breaking work, the Peer Education Project uses a co-produced curriculum aimed at equipping young people with the knowledge and understanding of stigma, mental wellbeing and the ways in which they can safeguard themselves and their peers. By training Year 12’s to teach Year 7’s, the Peer Education Project aims to bypass the walls many young people put up when being taught such nuanced, personal topics by adults detached from their personal experiences. Though the project is only in its infancy, we hope that it will provide real insights and turn knowledge into action. 

With the help of inspirational individuals such as Jenny and the tireless work of organisations such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Mental Health Foundation, we can make a real difference to the mental health and wellbeing of young people and teenagers.