Blackpool students help local NHS design new mental health campaign

Blackpool Sixth students Daniel O'Hagen, Matt Maudsley-Broome, Ayman El-Oufour, Kath Hurst

Students at The Blackpool Sixth Form College have designed a series of campaigns to help young people with mental health across the Fylde Coast.

Health bosses from NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the organisations that plan and buy health services across the region, set the task as part of a six-week youth engagement project.

The ideas – including an app, Instagram page, Snapchat subscription and a recruitment website – will all be considered as part of a county-wide redesign of mental health services for children and young people.

Dr Ben Butler-Reid, a Blackpool GP who is also clinical director for the two CCGs, said: “This was a huge opportunity for us to see how we can best get young people talking about mental health and opening up about what can be a difficult subject.

“The students showed tremendous enthusiasm and came up with some really good ideas that we will definitely be considering in the future.

“In the final week we asked the students to present their ideas to a panel of NHS professionals and they were an absolute credit to themselves and Blackpool Sixth.

“It was clear that lots of thought had gone into their presentations and all the groups had done plenty of research into mental health and the various services on offer across the Fylde Coast.”

Chelsie Toole, a teacher from the department of Business and IT at Blackpool Sixth, said: “We were delighted to be approached about this project and it has been fantastic to see how well our students have engaged in all the activities.

“They have learned a lot from the project and it has helped them develop important skills for their future careers.

“The topic of mental health is such an important one for students and it is great to see that the NHS locally is seeking the input of young people in determining its future provision and services.”