March 21st, 2016

Aye Mind at Enquire’s Young People and Mental Health Conference

The Enquire Conference on ‘Positive Mental Health in Schools: Overcoming Barriers to Learning’ was an exciting day for the Aye Mind team.

It was a delight to see Caitlinn Jay Quinn and Zoe Mann, two young people who attended our GIF making workshop at the Riverside Museum present Aye Mind. Hearing the young people talk about how they had shaped Aye Mind in their own words was brilliant. Their confidence in talking about their experiences of mental wellbeing was inspiring. They spoke about what messages they had chosen to promote when they created their own GIFs. They used the GIFs to let their peers know that a way to help yourself is to help someone else, they encouraged friends to talk about mental health and wellbeing; letting friends know the valuable message that ‘It’s OK to not be OK’. They drew everyone’s attention to the fact that mental health doesn’t have to be elephant in the room and you can find right person to talk to. They received a really positive response and said that they were proud to present their work.

Enquire are the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning. They provide independent and impartial advice to parents and carers, practitioners in education, social work and health services, and children and young people. The day featured many insightful speakers. We learned from others in the field of young people’s mental wellbeing.

Chris Sullivan from the Mental Health Foundation also presented Aye Mind. Aye Mind is on a mission to improve the mental wellbeing of 13 to 21 year olds by making better use of the internet, social media and mobile technologies. We take a co-design approach to everything we do, from workshops on our digital platform, to inviting young people to submit their mental wellbeing gifs on the Young Scot site.

Young people had insightful messages to pass onto schools and professionals working within the mental wellbeing sphere who were at the conference: don’t turn a blind eye when young people need help, show them how to use online technologies safely, raise awareness that too much time online can be negative and don’t ban digital media in schools, use it to your advantage!

Here are some insights that we’d like to share with you:

  • Firefly Yoga for Youth, showed us practical ways of bringing mindfulness and yoga to young people. A brilliant way to a healthier, calmer mind. You can also have a read of our Aye Mind articles on mindfulness here;
  • Students from Lesmahagow High School championed the mental wellbeing day their school hosted and what a positive effect it had on their learning environment;
  • Karen Muir from the Glasgow City Inclusion Team talked about the importance of creating a consistently nurturing, warm and empowering learning environment. When a learner’s mental wellbeing is good, their ability to learn is greatly improved;
  • Speakers during the conference emphasises that when the environment is right for the learners with most complex needs, it will be best for all learners.

 

The conference stressed the importance of having ‘One Good Adult’. The idea that every young person needs at least one person in their life that they can confide in and trust. This is something that young people and health professionals echoed. The many interesting speakers at the event drew our attention to how we could fill the world with lots of those good adults and how to create supportive networks around young people.