I feel like I'm in a really happy place in my life at this point and I think a large proportion of that is thanks to Think4Brum. It's such a wonderful group to be in, just being listened to and being part of something meaningful.
Nahida Rahman, one of our fantastic young volunteers, has been appointed Chair for Think4Brum, a youth participation group in our 0-25s Mental Health Services.
The group use their own experiences of mental health to provide vital feedback, support ground-breaking projects, and help shape our services. We spoke to Nahida about why she was inspired to join Think4Brum and what the group have been getting up to.
Why did you join Think4Brum?
I was part of the Young Person's Advisory Group (YPAG) at Birmingham Children's Hospital when I was 11, which I really enjoyed. I left the group to focus on my studies, but I loved being part YPAG and wanted to come back to Trust to help where I could.
Think4Brum work alongside YPAG in supporting our Mental Health Services. What really inspired me to join Think4Brum was seeing the stories of the current members. They were such inspiring people. There is something special about being part of a group that are really passionate about making a difference.
Around six months after joining Think4Brum, I sadly lost my 12-year-old brother very suddenly. This is when I realised mental health for what it was. I saw my family go through some of the worst times and it was a really difficult time for me.
However, I started talking things through with my teacher at school who recommended I join a support group, which really helped me, along with Think4Brum.
During this time, I put so much into Think4Brum and it was a great support for me. I wanted to use my experiences to help other people.
Not only do Think4Brum make an impact on others' lives, but all of us are part of each other's journeys and we grow and blossom together.
What impact does Think4Brum have on our Mental Health Services?
Having young people at the heart of the service is so important. As a group, we champion people with lived experience. We've been through those struggles and challenges, and we know what it's like. It's about making a change not just for us, but for other young people as well.
We've had a huge impact on staff training, education and even the physical appearance of our sites. We want to make sure a young person is in a comfortable environment as in a way, these sites will be like a home to them.
We just really want to ensure that young people have the best experience in our service and that they make the most out it.
What project are you particularly proud of?
One of our biggest successes is the well-being passport. It's a physical passport co-produced by Think4Brum, that contains vital information about a young person's well-being to show health professionals.
When you're in the service, you sometimes need to speak to a number of health professionals and having to retell your story over and over again can be quite traumatic. The well-being passport gives a young person ownership. It allows them to tell their story in their own way, and share who they are, their goals, and what phrases they would prefer not to be used.
It's been proven to be really useful and we've had lots of external interest, which has been absolutely fantastic. We've had meetings with other organisations who are looking to create something similar, so it's great to see that it's been recognised elsewhere.
How has being part of the group benefitted you?
I've really seen myself grow as a person. I absolutely love working in a team alongside such passionate young people. I feel like I'm in a really happy place in my life at this point and I think a large proportion of that is thanks to Think4Brum. It's such a wonderful group to be in, just being listened to and being part of something meaningful.
I've seen myself growing in confidence and leadership and just as a person generally. I feel like I can conquer whatever is thrown at me. You end up learning so much from other young people. You'll never stop learning and I think you'll never stop growing as a person.
Interested in joining Think4Brum?
You can find out more about Think4Brum and how to join on their dedicated webpage.