Apologies for being so quiet lately, I handed in my first module assignment this week as well as recovering from a wonderful birthday weekend. Aside from the aforementioned uni work, I haven’t actually done much writing at all recently – I’ve actually been too busy to write! Which is both different and depressing, in a way.
One thing I’ve been involved with recently, is attending a meeting for a group called Think4Brum, which was set up so that young people between the ages of 11 and 25 could have a voice in how mental health services are developed here in Birmingham. Forward Thinking Birmingham – previously known as CAMHS – has already evolved thanks to Think4Brum, from the name change to extending the service up to age 25, instead of the original cut-off at age 16.
This group have also been instrumental in setting up a service called Pause, a drop in centre right in the heart of the city for young people to go and talk to someone when they need it most. Pause acts like a hub for those who want help but might not know where to turn – something which I personally believe is vital for those who might not know where to turn, or might feel embarrassed or even ashamed of what they’re dealing with. Most importantly, two young members of the Think4Brum group that I met, K and E, are both incredibly passionate about Pause and it’s potential. I’ll go more into that a little later on.
I was invited to come along to the meeting by a lady named Christina after showing interest on Twitter, and given how much I feel with regards to the care of children and young people and their mental wellbeing, I was more than happy to go along and see what it was all about. I didn’t really know what I could offer apart from my own opinions, but regardless of my anxiety and the fear of the unknown, I went along. Christina was there, along with Dave from Pause and three other young people including K and E. Pause was definitely the hottest topic of conversation as they’ve very recently opened their drop-in centre and are trying to spread the word of this very valuable project. I’m grateful to Kiah for telling me so much about what they do, and as I’m writing this I cannot stress just how much this service could benefit young people in Birmingham. 1 in 10 children and teenagers have a mental illness – and having been under CAMHS myself 13 years ago, I can understand the fear and unknowing that comes with getting help and support when you need it most. Sometimes, all kids need is just someone to listen as much as they need a diagnosis and treatment. Pause can provide these, from what I’ve learned about them.
There were other topics that were discussed, including plans for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week in May and World Mental Health Day in October, as well as some ideas for events to be ran in the summer holidays. I also offered myself to talk about youth mental health in schools and colleges, something which I think is needed. Social media was mentioned a lot, including by myself, as a way of spreading the word about the above happenings. Without trying to feed into the stereotype too much, kids and teens live by their smartphones and the internet – this should be utilised I think.
It was very strange to be sitting in a meeting where I was pretty much a stranger looking in on the work that’s come before, not really knowing what I could do. Plus, Think4Brum exists with young people in mind – and as I have recently turned 26, I don’t know if I fit into that category any more to be blunt. But despite possibly being an old fart, I am still a service user and my BPD came from my teen years. If I’d got the care and support I needed at the time, who knows? I hope being part of Think4Brum can allow for me to help so others don’t feel as let down by the services available as I felt. I’m really impressed with what I learned during my time there, and I do hope I can be of some assistance in the months to come. We’ll be meeting up again before the summer holidays to discuss upcoming events.
I’ve also put some dates down for other events that I may attend in the very near future – of course I’ll update if and when I go to any of them.
Needless to say that when I came home, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep while the Husband was at FNM, only waking up to water some onions I’m growing in FFXIV (they take ten real-time days to grow and sell for 200k gil each on my server…) before returning to bed when he got home. Priorities, of course.
(On a side note, I managed to open my conversation with the group with the news that a gang of thieves have been jailed after stealing £20,000 worth of Jammy Dodger biscuits. After being sentenced for 11 years, they shouted out “Anyone want a biscuit?” as they were lead out of court… now that really does take the biscuit. Shut up.)
Feel free to drop in and visit Pause –
Opening times are:
Monday – Friday 12pm-6pm
Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm