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Highland Youth Parliament pushes ahead with mental health improvements following its annual conference held virtually with young people joining virtually across the Highlands.

By Louise Glen

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Highland Youth Convener Anja Johnston.
Highland Youth Convener Anja Johnston.

Members of the Highland Youth Parliament (HYP) are working on plans to improve mental health support, following their annual conference.

Held virtually, more than 100 youngsters from across the Highlands took part in discussions to make sure their voice is heard by those in power.

Highland Youth convener Anja Johnston said: “The two-day conference last week was a huge success despite us having to go from our 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.

“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 Highland Youth convener Anja 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&A session, Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) campaign training, and some international examples of mental health support from Esme Leitch, Youth Advisor for the North Sea Commission.

Highland Member of SYP Mollie McGoran from Alness also spoke about her journey from involvement with Highland Youth Parliament through to becoming elected as Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross in 2019.

Mollie has gone on to become SYP trustee for national campaigns and convener of the transport, environment and rural affairs committee.

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.

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