Parliament Week (14-20 November) is an annual programme of events that aims to connect people with parliamentary democracy in the UK. This year, Parliament Week has set up a campaign called ‘Do Democracy’ which focuses on young people and their engagement in politics. In keeping with this theme, the Centre for Mental Health set up a project centred on the exciting opportunity for young people to meet with MPs to discuss mental health.
The MPs and the young people met on the 3rd and 4th of November at Portcullis House, London and were then asked to reflect on this experience in a blog which we will release on each day of Parliament Week.
The meetings were between:
1. Amber, Sophia and Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn. Amber and Sophia are two young people (17) attending Highgate School. Sophia suffered from Anorexia Nervosa and Amber, her best friend, felt disheartened by the lack of support she could offer due to her lack of knowledge regarding the issue. Over the past 18 months they have set up and campaigned for ‘Stop It Before It Starts’ – a campaign that aims to have Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing placed on to the National Curriculum. Please find their petition at: https://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59244
2. Yara Al-Tuhafi and Conservative MP James Morris. Yara is a young person (18) from South London. Yara is associated with the Who Cares Trust – an organisation that supports young people in care. Yara has had long-standing interest in mental health due to her own life experiences and is especially interested in the stigma associated with mental health.
3. Frankie Hopkins, Amira Nandhla and Labour MP Glenda Jackson. Frankie (16) and Amira (13) are two young people from Gloucestershire associated with Action for Children. Frankie and Amira both have personal experiences of mental health issues and have long been interested in how young people could get better mental health support – they were very keen to discuss this with Glenda.
This project provided a brilliant opportunity for young people to have their voices heard and hopefully the blogs will provide inspiration for more young people to continue the conversation about mental health – we hope you enjoy reading them!