A group of young campaigners have helped choose who will provide mental health services to young people throughout the county.
The Free Your Mind Campaign designed questions and were part of the interview panel to find the best organisations to deliver counselling and advice services to young people.
YMCA Downslink was chosen to provide face to face counselling and Xenzone to provide online counselling to young people throughout West Sussex with mental health problems.
Brighton and Hove MIND will deliver emotional wellbeing support and advice to children and young people from the age of 11.
Claudia Van-Nimwegen, 17, a member of Free Your Mind Campaign Group, said: “I was on the panel and chaired one of the meetings. It was a great experience as I am keen ambassador for mental health campaigning.
Claudia, from Goring-by-Sea, added: “I got to ask relevant questions and respond to their answers appropriately. I felt really professional and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”
The young people worked with West Sussex County Council’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Commissioning team who say the opportunity enabled the youngsters to learn new skills in communication and assessing information, as well as building their self-confidence and interview skills.
Becca Randell, the Commissioning Team’s Manager, said: “I was incredibly impressed with the professional approach of the young people from the Free Your Mind Group involved in the panels.
“It’s essential that young people are involved in the commissioning of local services. We are delighted that they have agreed to be involved in the monitoring of the delivery of both counselling and advocacy services.”
The Free Your Mind Campaign Group is supported by West Sussex Young People’s Service and has representatives from West Sussex Youth Cabinet, West Sussex UK Youth Parliament and Horsham Young Person Empowered Representative as members.