When faced with the closure of wards at community hospitals in 2016, 11 young people in Maryport came together to protest.
From that campaign emerged an ambition for more help for teenagers suffering emotional turmoil – and the creation of We Will.
The group, aged from 14 to 25, was helped by the town’s Ewanrigg Local Trust, which won 10 years of funding from the National Lottery to support the fledging collective.
They believed if parents, carers, teachers and others they came into contact with listened better and without judgement, it would make a positive difference.
Six years on, We Will has trained 300 mental health first aiders, produced educational films, lobbied in Westminster, won awards and even enjoyed a royal endorsement.
A film by the group called BOY, which encourages struggling teenagers to speak up, was shared by Prince William on Instagram when he met members in 2019.
We Will’s short films, advocating a youth-led approach to improving mental health, have been shown at schools and business events and attracted more than 100,000 views across social media.
Their work has claimed accolades including a Diana Award for Voluntary Service and a National Mental Health and Wellbeing Award.
“Everybody thinks they are a good listener but we all need to be reminded it’s important to listen without judgement, without trying to fix the problem, without interruption or adding your own experience,” said Kate Whitmarsh, from the Ewanrigg Local Trust.
“They’ve taken their message into school assemblies and regularly present to big groups and meetings and have lobbied local health officials to increase mental health budgets and boost the number of visiting mental health professionals.”
Molly Robinson, who was 14 when she joined We Will, said young people had “willingly given hundreds of hours… to push at doors trying to improve mental health in our community”.
The 19-year-old added: “We’re proud of a whole range of achievements including helping health officials to increase youth mental health teams in local schools and inspiring other young people to stand up for the things they believe in.” 바카라사이트
The North East and Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), which funds mental health services, has worked closely with We Will members “listening to their views on the need to improve local services”.
A ICB spokesperson said We Will’s work helped create Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs), working with more than “40 schools across the areas of Allerdale and Carlisle, with an additional team due to start in 2023″.
It added it would continue to “ensure local voices are heard and considered” in the future planning of services.
As part of We Will’s push for change more than 300 adults have been trained to spot triggers and signs of mental health issues.
Julie Lawlor, associate director for partnerships at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services, described the group as a “really valuable voice of young people in west Cumbria”.
She said young people were often under-represented in mental health and wellbeing conversations.
As the lottery funding comes to an end, We Will wants to share its legacy of films and campaigns with anyone who lives or works with under-18s in Maryport.
“Listening better is free, anyone can do it and it makes the biggest difference,” said Ms Whitmarsh.
“Our work has shown if adults are in a position to give young people time, resources, responsibility and support, what young people can achieve over time is transformational for them and their community.”
Molly says she is most proud of people telling her that one of We Will’s films “has helped them to listen to a young person in their life better”. 온라인카지노