12 DAYS! That is exactly how long we have until we again come together for the SYP March National Sitting, in the Borders. I cannot wait to see you all again; engage in crucial debates, have a night of celebrating our work at the SYP Awards, and, most excitedly, see the launch of our manifesto, Lead the Way! It is an exciting time, and I cannot wait to be there with you all, and ensure we promote and protect the rights of young people to have their voices heard.
1 in 10! That’s how many young people, aged 5 to 16, will experience a mental health problem in a given year. Young people are also waiting 9 weeks on average to access mental health services, and sometimes as long as 22 weeks.
The statistics on mental health problems in this country are shocking; even more concerning however is the personal stories of friends and constituents who live these statistics every day. Young people we come into contact with every day who too often suffer in silence, kept quiet by stigma and a fear of peoples perceptions. Last week I was holding a stall locally, talking about SYP and the work we do. One young man came up to talk, and through conversation he mentioned his own experiences dealing with mental health problems, and how his life and health were turned around through the help of local services. But he also remarked that he was lucky that these services were there, too often they aren’t.
Speak Your Mind is a campaign that looks to promote positive conversations about young people’s mental health, to make sure that the voices of all young people are heard by decision-makers, and to call for high quality services and information for all young people in Scotland. That is why it is imperative that, as an organisation, we come together to amplify the collective voices of Scotland’s young people, and challenge the status quo around mental health care.
Over the past month the SYP staff team have been running interactive online and in-person training workshops so that we can all be part of this campaign, and understand better the issues at play. I hope you have taken an active role in this exciting phase of the campaign. If anyone hasn’t done campaign training, there is still one last opportunity on Wednesday. I very much look forward to talking further with you all about the campaign, and many other issues at the 59th Sitting. See you there!
Katie Burke MSYP
North East Fife Constituency
Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament
- The last chance to take part in campaign training is Wednesday 2 March. Sign up here.
- SYP is hosting a Mental Health Discussion Day. Please speak to young people in your constituency who would want to speak about their experiences and thoughts on the state of mental health care for young people in Scotland. This will be an important day for the campaign, so sign up to attend here.
- There is a new feature in SYP News called The Careful Reader Challenge. I won’t say any more than that, because you should read about it for yourself, but it has been really fun to see your responses to the challenges so far.
This editions shout out goes to Dillon Kennedy MSYP, who has been busy writing columns for his local press on all things SYP! Check out his social media stream for this column, talking about NPS and young people in the Perthshire area.