Young people from East Sussex are calling for more to be done to boost mental health and emotional well-being in schools and the wider community.
The call was made following Takeover Day, held at County Hall, in Lewes, in which around 50 young people got together to discuss how they feel the issue should be addressed.
They said schools should receive more support to be able to create a positive environment in which young people can feel safe, enjoy and achieve.
Schools should also use the resources created by young people, including the Boing Boing Resilience Framework and the Top 10 tips guide for schools developed recently by the East Sussex Youth Cabinet and Download Participation Group.
The Takeover Day activity follows a planning session for the event, held at the Joff Youth Centre, in Peacehaven, last month and attended by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Harvey Hill, youth volunteer with Boing Boing, a social enterprise which works with disadvantaged young people, said: “We’d like to see schools and other organisations use resources that have been created by young people to improve mental health and well-being – because we know what we are talking about and we have a way of communicating that engages other young people.
“Schools should focus on how to make the school a safe place of belonging. This is especially important for students who don’t have a safe place anywhere else. They should ask students’ opinions on how this can be done.”
The day was organised by the East Sussex Youth Cabinet and Children in Care Council and included representatives from Hastings Youth Council, Peacehaven Youth Mayor, Seaford Youth Forum, The Able Group, LGBT Group and Girls’ Group.
Also in attendance were senior decision makers including Cllrs Bob Standley and Sylvia Tidy, cabinet members responsible for children’s services at the county council, county council directors and representatives from district and borough councils.
Cllr Tidy said: “I was hugely impressed with the young people’s dedication and honest discussions about what they think is important and what we should focus on: improving mental health and emotional wellbeing is a priority for them.
“I feel inspired to continue being a champion for including their voice in decision-making, which is what Takeover Day is all about.”