“Pronouns: he, him, his & they, them, their”
Ross is absolutely delighted to be a Youth Co- Convenor for IAYMH 2017. After attending the 2015 conference, Ross saw the brilliance that young people bring to the table and their potential to truly enhance the landscape of youth mental health. He is thrilled to be given the chance to work alongside the youth mental health champions during IAYMH 2017 and drive forward positive change.
Ross is based in Dublin, Ireland and is the Communications & Advocacy Officer in GLEN- the LGBTI equality network of Ireland. The opportunity to work the GLEN came about after volunteering with Yes Equality in the lead up to the marriage equality referendum in 2015. Working in the LGBTI sector has been one of the most rewarding, empowering and interesting so far. It has also highlighted the need for all areas, including the mental health sector, to embrace diversity and inclusion at every level of service.
While fantastic work is being done by many, there is a great need to drive forward positive change for the LGBTI young people. Across the world, young LGBTI persons face many issues and mental health is one of them. Ross hopes that to be able to harness his experience in both the LGBTI and youth mental health sectors to add to IAYMH 2017. He also hopes that it will encourage others to be proud mental health and LGBTI advocates who will be allies to those that need them. Moreover, to empower our young people to embrace their diversities, take pride in who they are, and lead change as advocates for their causes.
Since joining the Youth Empowerment Service (YES) as a Panel Member, Ross has gained immeasurable experience in the youth mental health sector. As an independent advocacy group for the young person’s unit in St. Patrick’s Mental Health Service, the need to have a young person’s voice heard throughout their mental health experience is absolute. From service provision to training to policy writing, Ross has always kept young people in focus throughout his work. Having a group which is dedicated to improving the experience of young people in a mental health service is truly incredible and to see so many young people who volunteer their time to YES reiterates the importance of youth engagement. YES is the only independent advocacy group for young people in inpatient care in Ireland and is pioneering the model of best practice for service user engagement and empowerment for inpatient mental health services. Through IAYMH 2017, YES hopes to share their learning with other organisations to foster greater service user engagement, implement advocacy platforms for service users and give young people the opportunity to create positive change in the youth mental health sector.
Empowering our young people to be heard is an essential element to improving our mental health services. Through youth engagement, Ross hopes that IAYMH 2017 will truly reflect the needs of our young people and be a place that embraces diversity and actively works to include the voices of those who are seldom heard.