A PETITION set up by a Gwent mental health group calling for young people to be given a say in health services will be handed over to the Welsh Assembly today.

As part of today's World Mental Health Day, a group of young people will visit the Senedd to hand over the petition, which has been signed by more than 1,800 people, calling for public bodies to be required to consult with young people when commissioning mental health services for them.

The petition was led by the young people’s campaign group at Changing Minds, a Gwent-wide mental health support project run by Newport Mind. The scheme supports young people aged between 14 and 25 experiencing mental health problems, and has been running for the past five years.

Chloe Chandler, who works at the scheme's Newport service, said: “At Changing Minds, we work hard to give young people a voice in the services that we provide, so that they can feel a sense of ownership.

"Over the past five years of the project, we’ve seen that young people know what they need, but we need to give them a voice. We hope that the Welsh Government will consider how young people can have their say about public services, making them more effective and improving engagement.”

Through Changing Minds, support workers based in Newport, Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly work with young people and help them support each other as a peer group. It was set up following research showing young people were not comfortable with discussing mental health issues with teachers, social workers or doctors.

Carly, a peer mentor at the Newport service, said: “As a young person who has suffered with their mental health over the years and has struggled to access the support I needed, I believe it is vital that we, as young people have a say in what funding and services - like Changing Minds - are available to us. This petition is our chance to finally get our voices heard.”