Young people share their experience of CAMHS in new films

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in CAMHS, Mental health, News on 17th November, 2022

Malcolm CAMHS film screen grabWe are proud to showcase two short films created with the help of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) team.

The team were looking to find ways to reach out to people and encourage them to seek help after three young people took their own lives. Working together with those who have used the support of CAMHS it was decided that films including people with lived experience would be the most effective way forward.

The short films feature two wonderful young people, Astro and Malcolm, who were happy to share their story and experiences of seeking support from CAMHS.

Robin Tay, CAMHS Participation Worker, said: "Having accessed CAMHS for a number of years both Astro and Malcolm have been involved in many projects aimed at developing and improving the service. They are both passionate about young people’s mental health and absolutely committed to doing anything they can to improve the help that is available.

"They have both devoted a huge amount of their time to this work and were really keen to be involved in this particular project. They were a crucial part of the project planning and had no hesitation in putting themselves forward to be filmed and to share their stories so that other young people might feel encouraged to seek help and support when they need it.

"I hope that these films encourage other young people to seek help with their mental health. Astro and Malcolm have generously and bravely shared their personal experiences in these films and this is just one part of the brilliant work they do to help CAMHS and the children and young people that use our service."

The films can be viewed on this dedicated YouTube playlist for CAMHS.

Sonja Upton, CAMHS Head of Service, said: "Across childrens’ services, the desire to encourage young people to access support when they need it was an important part of this project. The importance of knowing how to reach out for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by phone, online or in person. The understanding of what it might be like when you reach out for help. And the encouragement of others telling their story to reduce the feeling of being alone or of feeling stigma.

"People may need help at different times in their lives and that needs to be OK. We hope that these films will be a way to encourage young people to hear about the support that is available for them in Devon and reach out if they need to."

Lucy Eyre, Senior Manager Managing Risk Pathway, CAMHS, was also filmed on the day, with the plan to make more films about what happens when young people access the service. She said: "This was a social media campaign to be led by young people as a direct message to young people to call us when in crisis, or if they are worried about their emotional or mental health, that there is help there for you, and to take the brave step and pick up the phone, that CAMHS will support you.

"Astro and Malcom sharing their personal journey’s has been a really humbling experience and really brought the project to life, shaping it so it has incredible meaning with their lived experience and how CAMHS has shaped their recovery journeys."

Thank you to Astro, Malcolm and Lucy, who took part in the filming at Evergreen House in Exeter.

Rory Conn, Consultant Psychiatrist, said: "Incredibly grateful for two of our expert patients, Astro and Malcolm, who have generously shared their stories here about being helped by CAMHS. They are both instrumental in supporting our services now – sitting on interview panels, and helping shape our services. They also give sessions for our medical students to educate the next generation of junior doctors."

Click on the images below to watch the films or use the links.

Watch Astro's film here.

Watch Malcolm's film here.

Sarah Williams, Digital Communications Lead, worked on the project and said: "Over the last few months, shorter versions of the films have been shared across our social media channels, which includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and You Tube. These have received a high engagement rate with many people sharing the posts. Other channels, such as TikTok, are also options to reach a younger audience. If it helps just one young person, it's worth it."

Astro CAMHS Facebook post

Children and Family Health Devon CAMHS accepts referrals from young people and offers crisis support to young people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Support is also available through our online provider of emotional and mental health support Kooth.