Lochaber high schools represented at Highland Youth Parliament conference

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Members of the Highland Youth Parliament from Lochaber, Plockton, Kinlochleven, Mallaig and Ardnamurchan High Schools are working on plans to improve mental health support.

Held virtually, over 100 youngsters from across the Highlands took part in the recent discussions at the annual conference to ensure their voices are heard by those in power.

Highland Youth Convener Anja Johnston said the two-day conference last week was a huge success despite having to go from the usual face-to-face event to online.

‘We had people taking part from classrooms and homes across the Highlands and there was a positive buzz with everyone keen to give their voice to improving the current mental health situation,’ she added.

‘The information we received from Highland young people is amazing and we have lots of jamboards with ideas and comments which are so useful for making improvements and will feed into our Mind Us campaign.

‘I would encourage those who attended to add to the jamboards with any other thoughts over the next few days before we take the next steps.’

Hosted by Highland Youth Parliament chairman Innes Morgan and vice-chairman Isaac Beckley, there were presentations from convener Ms Johnston and sessions on developing mental health support through apps, schools, friends, NHS Highland and mental health charity Mikeysline’s youth ambassadors.

There were also area groups planning local action, an education Q and A session, campaign training, and some international examples of mental health support from Esme Leitch, youth advisor for the North Sea Commission.

All information from the presentations and sessions will be shared on a Google Classroom for youth groups and schools to use post-conference and HYP will be developing its Mind Us campaign over the coming weeks.