Youth Voice Bucks spotlight: Jasmine
The answers to the questions in this article have been provided by a young adult called Jasmine.
Hi, my name is Jasmine, I’m 22 and have lived in High Wycombe all my life. I’m close to qualifying as a mental health nurse, a career I chose after being under mental health services myself as a child. I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and identifying neurodiverse conditions in AFAB (assigned female at birth) individuals has become a really key part of my work.
I have been a member of Article 12 (A12), Buckinghamshire’s CAMHS youth forum, since 2019. This later enabled me to become a Barnardo’s Youth Colleague for the South-East Region, as well as participating in national initiatives set up by Barnardo’s. I have most recently been a Young Expert researcher for the Centre for Education and Youth, conducting research into the accessibility of neurodivergent assessments, with the hopes of initiating change to how CAMHS services currently support patients who are waiting for assessment.
My favourite part of being involved with Article 12 is definitely the redesign and maintenance of the garden at the Sue Nicholls Centre in Aylesbury; this project took a lot of planning and preparation, and the response it has had from both patients and staff has been amazing. I really enjoy returning twice a year to give things a clean, add paint to the birdboxes and trimming back the bramble!
Being a member of Article 12 has given so many opportunities to develop my interpersonal skills, and I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my confidence, as well as my ability to advocate for myself, and the views of those I may be representing. I have made real change and have sat on interview panels as an expert-by-experience, ensuring that new staff members have the seal of approval from young people!
The commitment made to young people in the BYPS hasn’t always been upheld; we have faced repeated challenges when attempting to educate professionals on the difference between consultation and co-production. Consultation is what it says on the tin – it’s consulting young people for their thoughts and opinions about a piece of work but only asking for their thoughts after the work has been produced. Co-production involves approaching young people at the point of deciding the work needs to be done and ensuring that the voice of the young people holds equal influence to that of the professional. The end result would be a piece of work that both parties feel proud of creating.
Over my time in Article 12, we have had a variety of project leads. Currently, our project leader Roxy has a very strong understanding of the benefits of co-production, and actively advocates for this pathway when she is approached by professionals wishing to work with Article 12 members. This has greatly improved our relationship with Oxford Health when they approach us to collaborate on projects, and if the work we are being asked to do is only consultation, professionals are much better at providing us with reasons as to why co-production is not appropriate for this piece of work.
We are working hard to also improve our communication when it comes to working with Article 12, as we have struggled to find out the outcome or final result of things we have been consulted on. This has resulted in producing a ‘work with us’ form which enables professionals to better understand our expectations of them working with us, but also to see how important it is to us to see the final product. This form has allowed for more streamlined working, and improved relationships all round.
To any young person who is considering getting involved, I’d so encourage you to make that leap and contact the project leader, even if it’s just to find out more. Article 12 are always looking for new members, especially young people who are currently under services as we are keen to make sure that the information we provide to professionals is still reflective of how current patients feel. Your voice is important, your voice deserves to be heard and your voice can make a difference in this world – take that jump and find out how huge that difference can be.
To professionals considering working with young people, I’d encourage you to use co-production for your future projects. It enables you to get a proper insight into the views of the young people using the services that you are working for, as well as young people gaining a better insight into how these projects work. Consultation does not allow young people to make change or use their experiences for good. Co-production does.