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If you would like more information on the consultation work that is mentioned on this page, please check out our consultation packs!
- Action, question and alert cards
- Consultation by theme:
- Rainbow Lanyards and pin badges: LGBTQ+ support
- Cooking Skills
- Mental health and SEND stigma
- What does participation mean to you?
- Letters from services
- Stress Awareness
This month, SYAS members shared some extremely powerful and personal stories. With their permission this newsletter shares some of their quotes and experiences with bullying.
Week to week there were three themes that came up repeatedly:
- Stigma: mental health and SEND
- The power of participation
As a result of these themes coming up regularly, 2 new action cards were raised.
Action, question and alert cards
There are two new action cards this month:
- Services need to address the relationship between SEND and mental health
- Bullying continues to be prevalent and the young people believe that education on stigma as well as mental health and SEND throughout year groups and staff networks would help to decrease this
Five action cards were closed. Four of these cards related to Covid 19. SYAS recognised that there has been a national failure, and as a result, three of these action cards have been passed onto the Surrey Youth Cabinet to pursue:
- Why was SEND friendly work not provided during lockdown?
- Why were COVID guidelines for universities not UK wide and left up to the decision making of individual universities?
- Why weren’t schools opened gradually so that pupils with SEND and mental health needs could get the extra support they required for returning to face-to-face lessons after lockdown?
One of the closed action cards related to SYAS and other young person participation groups run by the user voice and participation (UVP) team wanting to create LGBTQ+ action cards, especially around mental health & LGBTQ+ as well as working to reduce the stigma around the LGBTQ+ community:
- The UVP team has committed to posting more LGBTQ+ social media content
- The views of child and young people on the LGBTQ+ community were shared with the Surrey and Borders Partnership (SABP):
- SABP will be providing webinar/training for professionals working with children and young people about people who are LGBTQ+
- SABP will be creating an LGBTQ+ support pack
- LGBTQ+ action cards can now be raised.
One very important question card was raised this month:
- Are there protections in place to prevent letters containing private information from being sent to the parental homes of young people were safeguarding concerns have been raised?
- SYAS raised that this is especially important for CAMHS letters which can contain very sensitive information.
Consultation by Theme
Rainbow lanyards and pin badges: LGBTQ+ support
One of the SYAS members shared that they knew someone who had been pushed into the canal for wearing a rainbow lanyard:
As a result the group discussed how this is an example of why increasing visibility of support and safe spaces is important.
However, SYAS agreed that people need to make informed choices and be aware of the risks they may need to take to achieve visibility of causes that are important to them.
In recognition of National Care Leavers Week (26th October – Sunday 1st November 2020), SYAS have decided that they would like more information on essential cooking skills and simple recipes shared on their website.
Examples of the types of information and recipes SYAS will be sharing:
- Super quick meals
- Low sensory meals
- Low cost protein sources
- Microwave mug cooking (e.g. mug cakes)
- Vegetarian and vegan options
- Leftover meals
- Low risk cooking skills (e.g. recipes that do not include the use of knives or blenders.)
- One pot meals
SYAS will be testing out some Microwave mug cooking during their Virtual Christmas part this year!
Mental health and SEND stigma
It became very clear from this consultation that bullying is prevalent for young people with mental health and/or SEND needs.
Some young people feel like their schools, colleges, peers and professionals judge their abilities solely by their diagnosis.
SYAS agree that there needs to be more public visibility of people with SEND needs. From a young age people should be educated about the effects of stigma, mental health conditions and SEND.
Importantly, SYAS raised that stigma is not only something they experience from their peers, but the professionals they work with as well. Everyone needs this education and it “should be repeated and brought up regularly”.
What does participation mean to you?
Letters from services
A lot of the letters that SYAS members receive from different services are aimed at their parents/guardians/carers.
Whilst there is some level of feeling like this is ok, young people also feel like they are missing out on information because it is not made accessible to them.
Part of the problem is that so much irrelevant information is sent out, meaning important information is -hidden- within that.
When sending out letters for or about young people with SEND, it is important to remember that SEND can be hereditary:
Several members of SYAS raised a very important question card regarding letters from services for young people with difficult home lives:
Overall, SYAS members feel like letters from services should only be sent when necessary, be more accessible and young person friendly.
In the last week of October, SYAS looked ahead to stress awareness week (2nd- 6th November 2020) and considered what causes them stress and what techniques they use to manage their own stress.
Themes that cause SYAS members stress:
- Covid 19 and lockdown
- The News
- Being adopted
Stress management techniques used by SYAS members:
- Playing video games: “I play my x-box a lot to manage stress”
- Pets: “I play with our cats”, “Honey is my support dog”
- Colouring in: “I like to colour in pictures of dogs”
- Weighted blankets and jackets: “make you feel like you are being hugged”
- Fidget Toys – there was big agreement in the group about these!
- Rocking instead of fidget toys: “can be painful sometimes to use fine motor skills”
This month SYAS have mentioned bullying a lot throughout group sessions. This has included both past and present cases.
With Anti-Bullying Week coming up (16th – 20th November), SYAS wanted to share some of their personal stories to help raise awareness: