Ensuring that the best mental health services are available for all young people in Dorset is a priority for NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group and our partner organisations.

To help us shape the future of these services we have been speaking to local communities, young people, their families and staff working in mental health teams across the county.

As part of the ‘Your Mind – Your Say’ campaign launched in February 2020, we carried out an online survey and met with a wide range of groups to capture their views and experiences of mental health services.  Young people’s engagement groups, school pupils, college students, learning disability groups, professionals and parents were among the many groups we met.

The campaign used visual graphics specially designed with young people to appeal to young people.  The opportunities to be involved were promoted widely through social media and online channels by our partner NHS, local authority and voluntary sector organisations.  At the suggestion of young people ‘Instagram’ was used for the first time. Healthwatch Dorset also promoted the campaign and carried out their own complementary research.

We asked people what they felt was good about Dorset’s mental health services, what they felt could be better and what they felt would make the biggest difference to services in the future.

The response to our survey and from the people we met with was fantastic.  There was a passion in everyone that took part in this work to get local mental health services right for young people in Dorset.  We want to thank everyone who took the time to meet with us and to share their views through our survey.

Prominent feedback themes

Many people told us:

  • They felt listened to, cared about and supported

  • It was positive to be in control of medication

  • Developing good relationships with key workers was helpful

  • It was positive to have specialist support when needed

  • They would like to see a greater financial investment made in services

  • They need earlier access to services to prevent crisis and a review of the access criteria

  • How social media can support or negatively affect young people’s mental health

  • More continuity of care is needed to enable young people to develop trusting relationships

  • They would like personalisation and creativity in approaches to therapy

  • They wanted more support offered in school environments

  • Better support for and communication with families is needed

  • More awareness and education about mental health issues is needed

  • They wanted easier transition for young people moving into adult support services

  • There should be better training and improved career options for staff

Our full report will be available soon.

Our next steps will be to use this valuable feedback to inform future plans. We will work with children, young people, their families, staff and other stakeholders to do this.  If you would like to be involved you can register here.