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Young people give ‘Heads Up’ on mental health campaigning

18 Feb 2021

In response to the ongoing rise in young people experiencing mental health issues, which has increased during lockdown, the Belfast Youth Forum has worked in partnership with the Northern Ireland Youth Forum and the NI Children’s Commissioner’s Youth Panel to produce a mental health advocacy toolkit for young people.

Due to be launched live on Northern Ireland Youth Forum’s Facebook page  at 4pm on Thursday 18 February, the free ‘Heads Up!’ toolkit is designed to give young people a step by step guide to organising a mental health campaign project in their community and support them to campaign on local mental health issues.

The ‘Heads Up!’ toolkit aims to encourage young people to:

  • have their voice heard on mental health support and services,
  • communicate what needs to change,
  • promote and highlight good mental health in the community; and
  • prioritise looking after their own health - mental, emotional and physical.

Koulla Yiasouma, NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY), said: “I would like to congratulate all of the young people involved in producing this important resource. The ‘Heads Up!’ toolkit will help both  groups of young people and individuals identify the mental health issues they want to explore, articulate the change they want to see, develop a campaign plan and learn how to put it into action to achieve their goals. It will help them identify who they want to influence, and how they might do that creatively – and then evaluate how successful they have been in effecting change.”

Councillor Daniel Baker, Chair of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee said: “We’re so proud to support the Belfast Youth Forum, NI Youth Forum and the Children’s Commissioner’s Youth Panel in producing this important ‘Heads Up!’ toolkit. It’s particularly relatable and valuable because it’s been designed by young people, for young people – so I’d encourage schools, youth groups and organisations to contact us to get their free copy – they’ll find it a really useful and inspirational resource.”

Belfast Youth Forum member Johnjo McGrady explained: “The toolkit allows for young people to come together, get organised and start their own mental health campaigns.  It provides a vital step by step guide on the various processes of organising a campaign in order to meet a group’s goals.”

Phil Glennon, Deputy Director of Northern Ireland Youth Forum added: “It’s great to see the launch of the ‘Heads Up!’ mental health tool kit, developed by young people in partnership with Belfast Youth Forum, NIYF and NICCY’s Youth Panel.  Activism is all about young people taking action to influence change on issues that matter to them and this is exactly what this is, an activism resource! Well done to all the young people involved in the design and context of this toolkit. Hopefully young people will use this toolkit to help them become activists in their own communities.”

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