Following a visit to The Houses of Parliament on 23rd April 2018 which was organised by the office of Paul Blomfield, the SAYiT young people met with Paul and raised issues surrounded young people’s mental health and LGBT+ support in Sheffield.

Paul, the member of Parliament for Sheffield central, felt in the time frame given for the day he couldn’t answer all of young people’s concerns and therefore offered to meet with SAYiT on a one to one basis at a better time. On the 15th August 2018 Paul Blomfield came to Scotia Works to meet with SAYiT young people, ranging from aged 12-23.

Steve Slack, CEO of SAYiT, chaired the meeting and after warm introductions he handed the conversation over to SAYiT’s young people.
They reminded Paul of the Parliament trip and the issues they raised, mainly about the lack of support and care they have experienced using Sheffield’s mental health provisions.
Paul shared with the group that Sheffield has had a 50% cut in their third sector services but he is determined to protect it and is talking about mental health at every possibility. He then went on to ask the young people more specifics about what they feel needs to change.

It was a consensus between the attendees that a lot of young people identifying as LGBT+ suffer with poor mental health with little mental health services to support them.
An attendee of SAYiT who is over 18 raised that on top of this, young people questioning their gender have to wait on average 52 weeks to get an appointment at Porterbrook Gender Clinic, which is the over 18s gender service. It was discussed that they’re only seven gender services in the country all with high waiting list which is detrimental to those needed the services.
Paul listened to each individual telling their story and asked whether SAYiT staff team could collate them together to give him so he could take the issues forward.

After Paul expressed his sympathy to the young people’s experiences, he opened up a conversation about how the young people felt the situation could improve. Compulsive education around LGBT+ issues and mental health wellbeing was discussed, as well as introducing meditation into a school environment. All teachers and school staff should be trained on LGBT+ issues and how to support mental health crises.

To finalise the meeting Steve asked the group if they would feedback what it is that they like about the LGBT+ community. The group took turns in expressing their views with statements such as “I get to be unapologetically me”, “It’s the only place I am accepted” and “I just feel like it’s one big supportive family”.

Paul rounded up the conversation requesting that he receives the young people’s experiences and invited them to get involved in his event “The Big Conversation” given the young people a further chance to get their voice heard.

We would like to thank Paul again, for taking the time out of his schedule to meet with SAYiT and listen to our young people’s concerns. SAYiT will collate the young people’s experience and send it on to him.