Caring young people win a top award

Total Rethink members Lauren Horsey, Steph Gore and Terri-Leigh Smith with their award
Total Rethink members Lauren Horsey, Steph Gore and Terri-Leigh Smith with their award

A youth group is celebrating winning an award for their work to improve awareness of issues linked to mental health.

Total Rethink, a group run by Wigan Council for young people with an interest in improving services for those with mental ill health, won the Award for Contribution to the Community at a recent awards ceremony run by 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The group, which is open to all 11 to 18-year-olds, came together a year ago to help represent young people’s views on mental health and inform commissioners of young people’s mental health services.

Member Terri-Leigh Smith, 16, from Ince, said: “It was really exciting to win the award. It showed that all our hard work was worth it and that we genuinely have helped some people, whether they are mentally ill themselves or whether they are trying to understand mental health.”

So far the group has helped to steer the design of the SHARE home, an intensive support facility for young people experiencing mental health difficulties. They have created a film, called My Hidden Mind, and a teaching resource which encourages young people to share any worries or concerns.

Member Steph Gore, 18, from Wigan, said: “We are happy and proud to win this award because we’re very passionate about what we’ve been doing. We hope the film will help to change young people’s perceptions on mental health and remind people that you shouldn’t judge others.”

The group is currently investigating the different types of support available across the North West, from stress-busters to resilience building techniques and specialist services, so that they can inform what might happen next in Wigan borough.