Devon CAMHS delivers support for LGBT community

Young people who have received support from Devon’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) attended the Exeter Pride event recently to engage with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community.

The young people work as participation volunteers for the CAMHS service, part of Devon Integrated Children’s Service run by Virgin Care. They told members of the CAMHS team that they needed a stronger presence at the large event – and everyone agreed.

Together the volunteers and team members offered support and information about the CAMHS service to hundreds of people attending Exeter Pride and listened to people’s views on mental health.

One CAMHS participation volunteer, said: “It shows positive signs that the [CAMHS] service is aware of LGBT+ young people and the issues we face.

“By being at Pride it made a huge difference – it tells young people that their identity is accepted.”

Over the last 12 months, the CAMHS participation volunteers of young people and workers have been working alongside children’s mental health charity Young Minds to help raise awareness amongst colleagues about the issues facing LGBT+ young people. This has included a volunteer-led training session for Virgin Care colleagues and a best practice guide which will be available on the Young Mind’s website.

Robin Tay, CAMHS Participation Worker for Virgin Care’s Devon Integrated Children Services, said: “Our day at Exeter Pride felt like a real success, with young people, parents, grandparents and colleagues from other services telling us they appreciated us being there.

“We were approached by many young people during the day who were keen to talk to us about mental health and what we can do, as a service, to support LGBT+ young people.”

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