What is an Activist?
YoungMinds Activists are volunteers aged 14 to 25 who come from across England and who have experience related to mental health (including personal experience or caring for someone with a mental health problem).
Our Activists come from a range of backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, sexualities and religions – everyone’s welcome and the mixture of backgrounds of our Activists is part of what makes it so exciting.
Activists participate in the work of teams right across YoungMinds to raise awareness of the issues impacting youth mental health and improve the experience of young people with mental health problems.
Activists do this by:
- co-designing resources for young people, parents and carers and professionals
- co-producing campaigns with us
- speaking out about young people's mental health in the media and events and conferences
- co-creating social media content
- working with our policy team to ensure youth voice shapes all our policy
I felt really alone and powerless in my struggles. Joining YoungMinds as an Activist gave me an avenue to make change.
What is the Activist programme?
Young people can take part in the Activist programme for up to three years. Throughout this time, Activists are supported to learn new skills, immerse themselves in campaigning for better youth mental health and gain experience and insight to help them in discover their interests and talents.
YoungMinds Activists join a community of like-minded young people campaigning for change, and will be able to stay in touch with each other for as long as they need, through our Youth Engagement Alumni Programme.
It was the first moment I felt like I had real influence. It was special because, when you have depression, you don’t feel like much of what you do has an impact on the world.
Throughout their time with us
Activists develop plenty of new skills and take on experiences that will help them in their future lives.
- meeting new people (both professionals and young people)
- leading the way in helping to create positive attitudes and change around youth mental health
- sharing their story and encouraging other young people to find the courage to talk about mental health
- inspiring young people who are struggling with their mental health to look for support
- developing skills in campaigning and creating movements for change
- developing skills in media, facilitating and/or presenting through our Activating Change programme
Activists have our full support – our team works with each Activist to identify the campaigns and volunteering opportunities that are right for them. We also check in with Activists after each activity to get feedback and make sure everyone is getting what they need from the opportunity.
Activists attend a two-day training induction to start them off with all the skills they need to get going.
Over the year, they will be able to come along to various sessions with other Activists where they will learn new skills and have the opportunity to network with other young people.
My anxieties about joining the Activist programme soon disappeared when I realised that YoungMinds is the most welcoming and inclusive place in the world! It’s become one of my ‘happy places’.
Alongside our regular Activist workshops, there are regular opportunities to join in with other projects at YoungMinds. Check out our website and YouTube channel for examples of what our Activists have been involved with.
One of my highlights was a workshop with Instagram. It was honestly amazing to go to the office and meet the Head of Instagram who seemed really interested in improving the mental health of users (and I also enjoyed the Pick ‘N’ Mix!)
One of my highlights was my first opportunity: Going to Kensington Palace and being in the filming of the first Heads Together campaign video, and meeting Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate.
So many highlights!! Meeting an amazing group of young people has to be one. Every Activist is inspiring and strong and individual but all with the common aim of improving young people’s mental health.
One of my highlights was talking to the Head of Instagram about how they can manage triggering content, such as self-harm, on the platform. I really enjoyed working with other Activists to share our ideas and think of practical solutions.
How to get involved
This year we are taking nominations from youth and community organisations who work alongside young people who might not take the step to apply to be an Activist without support from an adult they trust.
If you are a youth or community worker and would like more information, please email [email protected]
Signing up to our mailing list is the best way to know if we advertise for open applications or other opportunities to get involved in our work.