Members of new young people's group, Camden Youth: Tell Them, with their graphic novel, Step Into Our Shoes.
Camden Council launched its annual health report on adolescent health at an event organised by local young people aimed at raising awareness of the issues they are facing.
Each year, every Director of Public Health publishes an independent annual report focusing on a particular health and wellbeing issue affecting local communities. This year, their report focuses on adolescent health and the issues that young people are facing in the borough.
The report was officially launched on 28 November at ‘Step into Our Shoes’, an event at LABS in Bloomsbury which was curated by ‘Camden Youth: Tell Them’, a group of local young people aged 16 to 21 to explore young people’s health across the borough and beyond.
Camden Youth: Tell Them co-produced ‘Step into Our Shoes’ as their response to this year's annual public health report. At this event they launched a graphic novel they created to illustrate key findings from the report and invited local decision-makers and health partners to take a walk-in young people’s shoes and to commit to working together to improve adolescent health in Camden.
Activities at the event included sports, affirmation writing, a word search challenge and audio recordings of young people’s experiences of living in Camden as part of the safety and violence zone. At the long-term conditions zone, young people challenged guests to test their lung capacity as part of an experiment on asthma to map lung capacity in Camden by postcode.
Guests were also asked to vote for which is the most pressing issue for young people’s health in the borough – physical activity, food and healthy weight was voted first, with mental health and safety and violence tied in second place.
Camden Youth: Tell Them also held the Council and partners to account in a lively panel discussion, asking questions including: "What’s the first thing you're going to do after this event to address the findings of the annual public health report?" Other discussions explored ways to improve health and wellbeing for young people in Camden.
Panel members included Kirsten Watters, Camden’s Director for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Sabrina Francis, Camden’s Cabinet Member for Young People and Culture, Nigel Robinson, the Head of Sports and Physical Activity at the Council, and Chaima Hale, Start Well Clinical Lead for Camden.
Camden Youth: Tell Them said: "We’re glad that the Council are shining a light on these issues that are so important for us and other people our age. While some of the findings were expected, reading the report showed some of the harsh realities for young people in Camden and the need for urgent change. Through working on Step into Our Shoes we found out more about the services for adolescents in Camden and hope that more young people can find out about them and get the help they need when they need it."
The creation of the graphic novel and co-production of the ‘Step into Our Shoes’ event by Camden Youth: Tell Them was part of a paid training programme established by the Council in response to findings in the annual public health report, which highlights the importance of quality training and employment for young people’s health.
Key themes that were discussed at the event included young people's safety, mental health and wellbeing, healthy eating, the cost-of-living crisis, body image and inequalities facing young people.
Over 100 guests attended the event, which included a mix of young people, decision-makers and health partners from Camden.