Importantly, however, engagement must be assertive. In a therapeutic healthcare setting, it is important to engage with young people in a way that equips them to be able to lean upon their own qualities and skills in hard times. Mental health services can be a significant support to young people, but their reactivity can lessen young people’s capacity to feel able to support themselves. Through engagement, young people should be able to feel strong; able to stand on their own two feet, whilst knowing they can reach out for support and will be properly listened to.
When I consider the impact a few people in the mental health world have had on my life, I feel excited! Because I now know, after all these years, what it means to be properly listened to, and I know the potential of engagement to transform young people's lives. Through engaging with Laura at Debating Mental Health, including taking part in a debating workshop and attending and presenting at the Global Summit for Mental Health 2018, I have hugely grown in confidence and rather than feeling like a vulnerable patient because of my difficulties, I feel like a strong young woman with valuable experience that can be used to help bring about change for the better.