Youth Advisory Group member Olivia has brought us our second blog post from the group of young people who sit on the Task Force.  

Olivia joined the Youth Advisory Group in August and is part of the 24-strong team of young people working with Chair of the Task Force, Diane Modahl, and other stakeholders to develop and deliver the Young Person's Guarantee. 

Olivia is one of the Co-Chairs working on the Staying Well strand of the Task Force and below she shares her first blog as we approach World Mental Health Day. 

Hi, it’s Olivia here. I am delighted to be part of the Youth Advisory Group (YAG) in forming a Guarantee that will offer all 11-30 years a sense of significance and importance but also reassurance following on from COVID19 their problems which have been highlighted/exacerbated have been heard and will be supported…  

Whilst I am thrilled to be a member of the YAG, I also recognise the accountability it entails as I feel a huge responsibility to ensure young people of Greater Manchester are supported in all aspects of their lives. 

I have recently graduated from the University of Liverpool and have struggled during the COVID-19 crisis gaining employment, but also mentally in adapting to life post-university.  

Some of my friends, like me, have struggled with feelings of insignificance, and worry that for the first time in their lives they have no plan of what their future looks like - fuelling anxiety and low self-esteem.  

Being sent home from university to be so isolated away from university friends and home friends also exaggerated loneliness and sadness - a dangerous six months for people suffering with mental ill health. 

Leaving university was not only an experience that felt like a loss of friends and direction but also a loss of support - whether that would be career advice or mental health support.   

Likewise, friends in full time employment have found the shift to working from home claustrophobic and stressful without the environment of their offices to create a structured day and their colleagues’ friendly faces. 

Moreover, schoolchildren have been incredibly down, bored without their friends and out of school activities all inaccessible during COVID-19, and a mixture of lack of motivation and worry surrounding their education.  

Therefore, I feel being part of the Staying Well team is perfect to enlighten all young people the existing services on offer in Greater Manchester but also ensure services are accessible, purposeful and used. 

Staying Well focuses on listening to the needs of the youthful population of Greater Manchester, expressed through consultations and surveys, and has established three key priorities that will help a variety of ages including:

- Ensuring school pupils feel safe and secure
- Increasing accessibility for mental health services for those outside of education
- Offer opportunities and accessible information for all ages to engage in social action

Along with six other YAG members that are supporting this theme I will be involved in ensuring these priorities are met through discussions with health services and organisations that currently exist.

As a group we will gain knowledge of what currently exists, works and provide recommendations of how these services should develop to support young people’s mental health where gaps have been identified and promote existing services by communicating with all young people. 

Additionally, we will ensure young people are aware and feel safe that their environment follows safety measures in all educational settings.

If you are 11-25 and feel like you could do with some support at this time why not try Kooth?

There’s loads of mental health and wellbeing support on offer and it’s all easy to access from any device.

Also, there will be a new Creative Care Kit available for young people around half-term so that’s something to keep a look out for.

In the meantime, you can find lots of available support and information on GMCA’s website.

Follow #WorldMentalHealthDay on social media for this year’s activity leading up to and on October 10.