Blog: 17 Year old, female

The OASIS young commissioners group is a mental health participation group for young people aged 11-25 that work under the ‘Future in mind’ transformation plan for Barnsley. We are the young people’s voice and influence group that work to improve mental health services and support for other young people.

The highlights of my involvement in the OASIS group are being involved in our youth mental health campaign #NotJustMe and the event we held for young people on World Mental Health Day. I have been incredibly inspired throughout the development of our mental health first aid kit. We have had the opportunity to facilitate creative workshops around some of the wellbeing activities in the kit to other young people and even professionals. It has been so good and fantastically received across the board. I have also enjoyed meeting people from different life experiences and being able to share a mutual understanding, empathy and passion around mental health through the OASIS group.

I have gained further experience through accessing training at Chilypep by taking part in the two day Adult Mental Health First Aid Course.
We also received a highly commended award for innovator of the year by Positive Practice in mental health for children and young people for our #NotJustMe campaign and youth mental health first aid kits. We got to go to an awards ceremony in Manchester which made us feel really special.

I found out that as well as being part of the OASIS group that meets weekly I could also get involved with other opportunities outside of the weekly sessions. I started to gain work experience through Chilypep by helping co-deliver mental health training to teachers and young people. From my perspective as a young person it makes me feel valued as sometimes we can be the experts in our own lived experience, and having opportunity to be heard amongst those that can help make change is a huge feeling of empowerment. I’m not saying as young people with lived experience that we know everything but sometimes neither do adults and professionals with loads of qualifications, and at times we should hear each other and work together to make change on a wider scope.

I hope to continue to see professionals being open minded and optimistic to hearing lived experience and training being delivered by service users and even those who may not have accessed services for different reasons. To me this shows passion, dedication and willingness to make things better.
I also think having young people co-deliver training to other young people has huge benefits. They say young people are impressionable on other young people, why not then use this to be a positive role model? I can help be a young positive role model and constructively challenge negative views around mental health, open up safe dialogue and equip young people with the skills and knowledge around mental health.

CHILYPEP and OASIS have given me a great opportunity to develop my own knowledge, planning, and presentation and public speaking skills alongside learning how to be an effective facilitator in Mental Health. I have now been accepted on to a mental health nursing course at University and I hope to continue my journey developing more skills and work experience within the mental health field.