My interest in the health sector began when I joined the Great Ormond Street Hospital Young People’s Forum to have a voice in practice and policy affecting the hospital and my care. My involvement with Partnership for Young London (PYL) started when they held a session on the importance of digital services and their accessibility for young people. After this session, I signed up to be a Digital Health Ambassador (DHA) with Partnership for Young London and I now run the DHA programme.
The lens through which young people experience accessing and using health services offers us rich insight into what works, and what could be done better in mental health service design and delivery. When young people are supported to lead the way in influencing improvement, magical moments are created! Young People grow in confidence as their voices are heard and valued, and experts and medical professionals are often energised by the diverse and rich experiences of young people that offer challenge and moments of connection.
Putting young people at the heart of services allows us to use their voice and experience to build in improvements. Young people need different things at different times. Allowing young people’s voices to impact policy and practice allows for a diverse service that can be tailored to the different needs of individuals. Adaptability is key, as services constantly need to change and update what they do in line with the feedback they receive.
How do Good Thinking and Partnership for Young London collaborate?
Good Thinking is constantly looking to improve and add to the website, especially in the young people’s section. To support this, we organise feedback sessions with Londoners aged 15-25, focused on specific sections of the platform and resources. The Digital Health Ambassadors (DHAs) then have a chance to test a section of the website and provide feedback. PYL and Good Thinking also collaborate on creating social media posts and campaigns that benefit young people.
Past collaboration projects
The DHAs created a calendar of awareness days throughout the year for issues that affect young people. We use the calendar to collaborate with various stakeholders and influencers to create campaigns and content to reach young Londoners through social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. During Stress Awareness Week 2022 we ran an Instagram livestream with influencer, Mr Moneyjar about how to balance and save money. One of the bigger campaigns we ran was a collaboration with the Young Gamers and Gamblers Association on Safer Internet Day 2022, looking at the positives and negatives of gaming and the community it can create.
Co-production is key
Young people also play an important part in creating Good Thinking resources. The Children and young people’s 5 ways to wellbeing project involved working closely with the DHAs and specifically targeting an audience of 12–18-year-olds in Haringey, Southwark, Newham & Islington. Groups of young people worked on the resource and fed back on how they improve their own mental health in line with their interests and lifestyle (e.g. sport, media, faith and community). This project also involved some social media content creation in the form of vlogs and TikTok animations for each of the 5 ways.
Amplifying the voices and opinions of young people in mental health
The DHAs also get involved in projects within the wider health field, here are some examples:
We're looking for young people aged 15-25 to join the Digital Health Ambassador programme - a unique opportunity to shape research and policy at a local and national level.
Meet some of the Digital Health Ambassadors
We asked some of our DHAs why they joined, what have they enjoyed and what skills they have gained from the programme so far: