Spot the Signs - Adnabod yr Arwyddion

A Peacemaking Project by Naomi L.

What is the injustice we are solving?

A project aiming to ensure that everyone can spot the signs of mental illness in children and young people. We currently do this by delivering interactive workshops which are currently aimed at years 7-9s in schools, to educate them on different mental illnesses and to show that it can affect ANYONE. There is a focus on teaching them some of the signs you can look out for to know that somebody might be struggling, and how to deal with that situation. We would like to be able to expand the project to deliver workshops to young and older age groups as well as delivering training to teachers, parents and professionals. The project was founded when one of our volunteers, Naomi decided that something needed to be done to make sure that people could spot the signs of mental illness. At the age of 14 she had started suffering with a anxiety and panic attacks but nobody picked up on the signs - this meant that she suffered alone for over a year before she felt able to tell anyone. Childline were the first people she told and from there things started to improve as she gained the confidence to be able to tell those around her what she had been going through. Naomi doesn't want anyone to have to go through what she went through and so has founded this project to try and change that. Our aim is to bilingually educate people to spot the signs of mental illness or poor mental health in young people whilst allowing young people's voices and views to be central to our development. We also are providing information on our website www.spotthesignsmh.co.uk for those of you in areas we cannot reach so that everyone can learn to spot the signs of mental illness. We hope you can all support us on our mission - led by young people who are experts by experience!

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of young people and the adults in their lives being unable to spot the signs of mental illness
we will address the lack of education being provided around identifying the signs of mental illness
by Delivering interactive workshops and training, delivered by young people who are experts by experience in the topic, to young people and the adults in their lives (Teachers, Carers and Professionals)

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • Create a workshop aimed at Teachers and professionals to encourage them to Spot the Signs of mental illness in young people
  • Create a booklet/leaflet to be made available to teachers/professionals to help them to learn to Spot the Signs of mental illness in young people
  • To create online content for young people to access on how they can Spot the Signs and support each other
  • To create online content for parents to access on how to Spot the Signs of mental illness in young people

We will increase my / our compassion by...

In the design of our workshop we will take insight and experiences from young people who have experienced mental illness to ensure that we understand from their perspectives what could have been done by peers and adults in their lives. These experiences and views will be central to the workshops we do keeping young people at the heart. We will also increase our compassion by incorporating and discussing with the adults we engage with on the challenges from their perspective that have prevented them from being able to Spot the Signs previously so we can ensure we are tackling some of the root causes from their perspectives too.

How will you show courage?

We will show courage predominately by sharing our own personal stories of mental illness with the aim of offering a real account of what difference can be made if you can Spot the Signs. Many of the group are very open about their experiences and will show courage by allowing the participants of the workshops to ask any questions around their personal experiences. Alongside this we will show courage by never giving up when things aren't easy. In the years the project has been running we've faced numerous challenges in people being unwilling to have the workshops delivered but we will continue to show the benefits of the difference they can make and find alternative ways such as online content and leaflets to share the message.

How will you collaborate with others?

To create and designs the new workshop for teachers as well as creating the new resources we will collaborate with young people to find out what they would like to go into the workshops. Although we as a team have our own experiences we believe that it is important to find out what others would like to be taught to ensure we are representing young people's views. We will also ask teachers/professionals and parents about the kinds of questions they would like answering and what information they feel would be helpful to help them to identify the signs. We will also take feedback from delivering the workshop for teachers/professionals to further develop and change the workshop to make sure it suits the learning aims of the people attending and of our project. To hold our workshops and distribute our resources we will also have to collaborate with schools and other youth organisations in our area to ensure this can be done effectively.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

We will know we are moving in the right direction if we have delivered at least one (but hopefully more) workshop to teachers and professionals on how to Spot the Signs and by looking at the number of attendees at these. Within those workshops we will know if we have been successful in our aims by requesting feedback from participants on what they have learnt and also what they might change or would like to learn more about. We will also know that we are moving in the right direction if more young people feel they are equipped to support their peers through the online information we are providing and can measure how many people are accessing this through our website statistics.

Key Steps

  • Create a survey to ask for young people's views
  • Ask for teacher's/professional's experiences and what they would like to see in the workshops
  • Ask for parents experiences and ask what information they would like to see on the website
  • Design the workshop for teachers/professionals
  • Secure collaboration with at least one school/local organisation and deliver workshop
  • Design leaflet for teachers/professionals to consolidate knowledge following workshop
  • Create online content for website for young people and parents

Our Updates:

Survey for young people about seeking help from teachers/professionals

Naomi L. 29 July 2018 7:34 Our survey for young people has had 40 responses so far and has offered us some valuable insights on experiences of seeking help, what they want teachers/professionals to know and the language they don't want to be used.
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VMHFHKL

We secured a partnership with a school!

Naomi L. 11 September 2018 8:25 We have managed to agree for a staff workshop to be delivered with a school in our local area. They have agreed that we can hold one of our workshops on a teacher training day (likely 2019 now due to time commitments of the school and us) and to distribute the booklets to their staff. They are very on board and positive about our involvement - which is amazing news!

Comments:

Amy T.
9 May 2018 19:51

Hi Naomi,

This is just another reminder of the project deadlines to be on track for our UK Challenge.
Submit Mini-Grant Application by 31st August
Submit Reflection by 31st October
You’ve done incredible work so far; please let us know if we can support if you in any way!

Thanks,
Amy

Adrian B.
5 July 2018 13:26

Hi Naomi!

I hope you're doing well! I wanted to drop by our (new!) project platform and check in about how your project is going. Are you ready to get started with a plan for your work?

I also wanted to let you know about a timeline we have for a UK-specific challenge that's coming up. We'd love to have you involved!

Completion of Understand Phase & Submit Compassionate Insights by 20th July
Submit Project Plan by 17th August*
Submit Mini-Grant Application by 31st August
Submit Reflection by 31st October

Let me know if you'd like to know more about the challenge, and if there's anything we can do to help. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best,
Adrian

Adrian B.
21 February 2018 9:44

Hi Naomi!

Thanks so much for posting this project. Educating people about what mental illnesses can look/sound/feel like is so important. I love this project!

The next step is for you to submit your compassionate insight. Why do you think people don't spot the signs of mental illnesses? It can help to answer this question by interviewing not only people who have had these experiences (like yourself), but also people who cause this injustice, and people who are also working to solve the problem. Here are some resources on how to do that: https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/test-project-3/dashboard/understand-injustice

I'm also happy to think through with you any resources you might need--I have lots of articles on these topics (many that go into intersecting identities and how they impact mental health--have you been thinking about varying cultural expressions of mental illnesses?), and know of a number of cool organizations doing this work too. Just let me know if that would be useful, or if there are other ways we can support your work!

Thanks so much for doing this. We're excited to see this project grow!

Best,
Adrian

Naomi L.
28 March 2018 14:28

any articles you have, particularly on the varying cultural expression, would be really helpful, thank you!

Adrian B.
3 April 2018 11:20

Sure thing! I don't know as much specifically about a Welsh context. I'm sharing some articles I found Welsh mental health for people of color, in case it's useful. Some of the other stuff I'm sharing is in a US context (apologies!), but may have some useful ideas that do transfer over. I hope it's useful!

Articles and organizations focused on Wales:

https://www.diversecymru.org.uk/bme-mental-health/
http://diversityhealthcare.imedpub.com/improving-the-quality-of-access-to-mental-health-information-and-care-the-views-of-health-practitioners-and-social-work-professionals-in-wales.php?aid=2403
https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/ethnic-minorities-face-mental-health-1840147
http://www.wales.nhs.uk/healthtopics/populations/minorityethnicgroups

Discussion of the variety of experiences and manifestations of mental health/altered states:

http://www.psychotherapy.com.au/fileadmin/site_files/pdfs/InterfaceFeb2009.pdf
https://jezebel.com/5445352/the-mind-in-the-world-mental-illness-culture-and-why-america-may-not-know-best
http://www.open.edu/openlearn/body-mind/health/cultural-differences-mental-health

Barriers and problems people of color face:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/minority-mental-health-statistics_us_57a4c099e4b021fd98787185
http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/african-american-mental-health
https://restforresistance.com/zine/mental-health-is-different-for-people-of-color
https://www.tc.pbs.org/wgbh/takeonestep/depression/pdf/dep_color.pdf
http://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2017/10/mental-health-and-people-of-color-a-quiet-conversation
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/5-key-takeaways-2017-lgbtq-people-color-mental-health-conference
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bjdnvv/finding-therapy-isnt-easy-for-queer-and-trans-people-of-color

How to support mental health needs in communities of color:

http://www.blackenterprise.com/promoting-the-mental-health-needs-of-college-students-of-color/
https://everydayfeminism.com/2017/08/people-of-color-mental-health/
https://mental-health-matters.com/five-ways-you-can-support-the-mental-health-of-people-of-color/
https://www.touchstonemh.org/july-minority-mental-health-month/

Stories from people of color:

https://www.amazon.com/Color-Hope-People-Mental-Narratives/dp/1514273489
https://www.bustle.com/p/people-of-color-mental-illness-photo-project-tells-the-mental-health-stories-that-arent-being-told-enough-7968876
http://www.creativesmartgirl.com/blog/5-mental-health-blogs-created-for-people-of-color
https://www.7cups.com/ypoc-guide/

I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you want to talk more about any of these ideas. Happy to support this work however I can!

P.S. One more link--this is one of my favorite radical mental health organizations: https://theicarusproject.net/ Check out their resources!

Kelsey T.
4 May 2018 9:03

Hi Naomi! This is such a wonderful project addressing such a critical issue -- it is so important that folks learn more about mental illness so they support one another! I'm part of the Peace First team and wanted to give you some feedback on your compassionate insight. We provide feedback to help people get ready for the "Plan" phase of their peacemaking project!

I think your insight is clear and strong as is -- it is important that people be able to spot the signs of mental illness in order to support people, and you've identified a clear root cause of people not spotting the signs (a lack of education). I love your idea to deliver interactive workshops and training -- and especially love that those will be delivered by young people to both their peers and adults in their lives!

Although your insight is strong already, as you continue to carry out your work, I'd encourage you to continue to explore the root causes -- including the root cause of the root cause you've identified: why do you think it is that there is a lack of education around identifying the signs of mental illness? I wonder if there is a way that your project is (or can) addressing some of the wider root causes that result in a lack of education around this issue. Reflecting more on this might make your insight -- and project -- even stronger!

It looks like you're ready to move to the PLAN stage of your project -- be sure to check out our Plan tools if you haven't already. Once you'e submitted your project plan through your dashboard, you'll be able to apply for a mini-grant to support the materials you need (up to 250 pounds).
https://www.peacefirst.org/plan-your-project

Excited to share more about your next steps! Keep up the amazing work!