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Spotlight on mental health as Highland Youth Parliament meets in Inverness


By Philip Murray

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Pictured leading the Walk a Mile for Mental Health are (from left to right) Megan Travers, Chair of Highland Youth Parliament (from Wick); Dougal Masterson, piper and vice-chair of the Highland Youth Parliament (Dingwall); Orla MacLeod, Highland Youth Convener (Skye); and Nicola Killean, Children and Young People’s Commissioner.
Pictured leading the Walk a Mile for Mental Health are (from left to right) Megan Travers, Chair of Highland Youth Parliament (from Wick); Dougal Masterson, piper and vice-chair of the Highland Youth Parliament (Dingwall); Orla MacLeod, Highland Youth Convener (Skye); and Nicola Killean, Children and Young People’s Commissioner.

Mental health among young people was front and centre when the annual Highland Youth Parliament launched in Inverness today (Friday)..

The conference at Inverness Leisure was attended by more than 100 delegates from secondary schools across the region along with a range of representatives from services who work with young people - including High Life Highland, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

As part of the event, all delegates took to the Queens Park running track this morning to Walk a Mile in support of young people’s mental health, supported by the organisation, ‘See Me’.

Focusing on mental health was aimed at highlighting how young people can help their peers. And, with that in mind, the Highland Youth Parliament launched a poster flagging up useful mental health support and resources for young people.

The event’s keynote speaker, Nicola Killean, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner, said: “All children have the right to the highest attainable standard of health, yet mental health and the challenges they face when accessing support is one of the main issues young people continue to raise with me. Spending time with peers and knowing where to go for information and support can help enormously.

“That’s just one of the reasons why this Highland Youth Parliament event is so vital – it’s an important way of bringing together young people and connecting them to the organisations and trusted adults charged with delivering their services. It’s also an opportunity to take time out to have fun and do activities that promote good mental health – it has been fantastic to be a part of it.”

Highland Youth Convener Orla MacLeod said: "The Highland Youth Parliament is a great chance for young people to get together to talk about the issues that are important to them and to discuss the ways they can make changes in these areas. There has been a lot of focus today on mental health which, as always, has been raised as a priority by the young people, along with preparing for exams and the future, vaping and working rights, among others.”

Megan Travers, chair of Highland Youth Parliament added: “It has been great to see so many young people coming along to the conference and enjoying the experience. This has been a great opportunity for them to speak to the many different organisations that offer services here in the Highlands.”

A group of young people from Kinlochbervie were among those taking part, sharing their views and experiences on the issues impacting young people in some of the region’s more remote areas. Harvey MacDonald and Lachlan Price-Davies agreed: “It’s been great to attend the Highland Youth Parliament and speak to people about the important issues we face living in a rural community. We hope by attending events like this we can encourage improvements in some of our facilities and infrastructure.”

Participants at the Highland Youth Parliament were also able to enjoy a variety of wellbeing activities including free swim and gym sessions with High Life Highland, yoga, exercise classes and tours of the Botanic Gardens. There was also the opportunity to explore their family history at the Highland Archive Centre.

The image attached shows (from left to right) Megan Travers, Chair of Highland Youth Parliament (Wick), piper and vice-chair of the Highland Youth Parliament, Dougal Masterson (Dingwall) Highland Youth Convener Orla MacLeod (Skye), and Nicola Killean, Children and Young People’s Commissioner leading the Walk a Mile for Mental Health.


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