The Youth Advisory Group at Lewisham CAMHS

The Youth Advisory Group at Lewisham CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) has been meeting on the first Saturday of each month for several years. The meetings are an opportunity for young people at Lewisham CAMHS to have fun and influence the services provided to them.

Here, Bimbim, aged 16, picks up the story.

Are you lonely, bored or just want to make a difference to your local CAMHS? Whatever your reasons, opinions or motivations, take a trip down to the YAG (Youth Advisory Group).

You’ll meet other young people who understand what you are experiencing, enjoy some free food and make a difference. ‘YAG’ stands for ‘Youth Advisory Group’ but we are much more than an anagram. We are a vital part of CAMHS. We give voices to young people who are directly affected by how Lewisham CAMHS operates.

Some of the things that we do
 
•    Meet every first Saturday of the month
•    Speak at staff meetings
•    Interview new staff
•    Create new groups  
•    Design posters
•    Make movies
•    Organise a ‘People's Day’ stall
•    Influence how things are run
•    Talk about things that matter to us
•    Active in staff inductions process
•    Go on trips e.g. to the cinema
•    HACKATHON – think up, design and test new apps
•    Create spaces for young people to be heard
 
When first going to the YAG, I felt apprehensive and didn't really know what to expect. To be honest, I put off going for a while because I didn't really know who I was going to meet. Then I met a few people who were members of the YAG at a group that was set up by the service.

So I finally decided to give it a shot. I found it wasn't as daunting as I thought it was going to be and I enjoyed myself. The people were great and very accepting - so I haven't stopped going since.  

Thank you.

If you are interested in joining the YAG, speak to a member of staff at Lewisham CAMHS. For more information about patient and public involvement at our Trust's CAMHS services, email Marianne.Caitane@slam.nhs.uk.


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