Young people powered change

“I raise my voice not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.”

Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Prize winner, aged 17.

Healthy Teen Minds is a Social Enterprise working to empower young people with lived experience of mental health

Healthy Teen Minds was founded in 2018 to create a children and young people’s mental health training and strategy consultancy that meaningfully involved young people in the co-design and co-delivery (co-production) of our products and services. We recognise our most valuable resource are our young people. Specifically, young people aged 18-25 with lived experience of mental health who have been underutilised, marginalised or excluded from work opportunities due to a period of ill health or those needing extra support to manage an ongoing mental health condition.

There are currently more than 150,000 young people 18-25 in England with mental health conditions who are Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET).

Young people who fit this profile are recruited as Young Advisors to our two-year development programme, based in one of our skills-based teams (currently including project management, communications and production), and power the consultancy work Healthy Teen Minds takes on. Our training and strategy work, co-designed and co-delivered by our Young Advisors, recognises their expertise, while also funding their development programme. Our approach seeks to ensure the voices of young people with lived experience are amplified, recognising that in addition to barriers around accessing work, they may have experienced a range of positive and negative experiences, and that understanding their lived experience is invaluable to creating meaningful training or strategy to help create positive improvements in the mental health cultures present in our partner organisations.

We want to see a world in which young people’s voices have influence on the decisions, issues and systems that impact their lives.

We believe that for this to happen:

  • Young people should be given more autonomy to make decisions and advocate for themselves. Information should be easy to find, accessible and jargon free
  • The lived experience of young people should be seen as equal to those of other ‘experts’’ in systems. Views should be valued and acted upon. Time should be paid for.
  • Young people should have the power to design, shape and improve all systems that impact their lives. Meaningful, decision-making roles in systems (not just consultation).
We believe that any change should be powered by young people.