Why children and young people?
Investing in children and young people’s health early on in their lives is critical. This age marks the beginning of risk-taking behaviour, the start of a sexual life, and a time when life-long health behaviours are set in place. In order for children and young people to make informed choices, they need to have access to timely and appropriate help and support.
Our focus areas
We know from our previous engagement work, that many young people do not know where to go for help and fear judgment if they access mental health and sexual health services.
We work with young people on small projects to best understand where we can make a difference and tackle these issues. We are developing our Children and Young People’s Engagement Strategy with a special focus on:
- Childhood obesity
- Access to community services for children with Special Educational Needs and a Disability (SEND)
- Young people and culture with a focus on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
- Young people's mental health and children with long term health conditions
Our work with Children and young people
Discovering the experiences of young people with mental health needs moving into adult life
Moving into adult life can be a difficult experience for all young people. It can be especially challenging for those with emotional or mental health needs and with hidden disabilities. Healthwatch Lambeth are carrying out research to find out the experiences of young people in Lambeth moving into adult life and discover what works well for them, and what changes they would like to see to better support them.
Using Enter and View to assess services
In 2018 we collaborated with 15 students from five local schools, namely Christ the King Sixth Form, Dunraven School, La Retraite Roman Catholic’s Girls School, Wimbledon High School, and St. Martin’s School, we assessed the youth-friendliness of paediatric services at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The overall feeling was that the areas we visited were more child friendly than young people friendly in terms of décor, entertainment and information provision. Adolescent patients reported very few issues with the care they received.
In 2019, we also carried out a visit with young people to the Evelina London Children's Hospital kidney transplant unit. All respondents said that good quality care and the opportunity to participate are the aspects that matter most to them. It appeared that those were being achieved.
Looking after young people's health
We interviewed young people in 2016 to understand how they look after their health (physical, mental, and sexual). We found that there is poor knowledge among young people about sexual health, particularly around sexually transmitted infections, and when and where to get tested. Also, several young people also mentioned being anxious and worried about local gang activity.