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Toot Hill School's mental health ambassador presents recommendations to parliament

A student has presented recommendations to parliament on mental health in young people.

Orla Wain, of Bingham, who is the mental health ambassador at Toot Hill school, Bingham, worked with 127 other 14-25-year-olds, including 30 from Nottinghamshire, on the MH:2K project.

The project is delivered by a partnership between charity Involve and social enterprise Leaders Unlocked.

Mental Health Awareness Week: Orla Waine, Mental Health Ambassador at Toot Hill School with Robert Jenrick MP. 161118TV4-1 (5846529)
Mental Health Awareness Week: Orla Waine, Mental Health Ambassador at Toot Hill School with Robert Jenrick MP. 161118TV4-1 (5846529)

The project provides mental health recommendations for professionals, mental health services, communities, families, social media, and schools, colleges and universities.

Its aim is to show what a mentally healthy area would look like from a young person’s perspective.

The project involved collecting data from more than 3,400 young people, analysing, it and deciding on recommendations.

Orla, along with other citizen researchers, presented the findings and recommendations to the Houses of Parliament.

Orla, 16, first heard about the project through her school and decided to apply.

In her application she had to describe her experiences of mental health as well as complete a personal statement.

She said: “First we had three full-day sessions to decide what areas we wanted to focus on. For example, one was friends and family.

“Then we went to a variety of schools and institutions, to talk to young people about how mental health services should be improved.

“We then collated the information and managed to get a slot at the Houses of Parliament.”

Orla presented her findings to a variety of professionals and governing bodies, including representatives from the charity Mind, members of the NHS youth board and MPs.

Orla said the experience had helped her confidence.

“Before I couldn’t read aloud in front of anyone, never mind in such circumstances,” she said.

“I think everyone felt a huge boost in confidence from it.”

They are still waiting for feedback but Orla believes the project was well received.

“They were impressed by our commitment to such an important matter,” she said.

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