Teenager steps into the hot seat to chair board meeting
A Blackpool teenager took charge when she co-chaired a mental health board meeting.
Laura Zakubinska helped steer the latest quarterly meeting of the Blackpool Mental Health Partnership Board (MHPB), which was established by Blackpool Council to improve the well-being of people in the resort.
The 19-year-old is a business administration apprentice with HeadStart, a programme which aims to help young people to cope better with difficult circumstances and mental health problems.
Laura said: “This was a great opportunity for me to see how issues are approached and what is involved in trying to create the best advice and support services for people who need help.
“It was great to see that young people’s voices matter and that their opinions are valued and welcomed.
“Being able to have a role to play in the meeting and an input is very inspiring and empowering.”
Laura led the meeting with Coun Amy Cross, cabinet member for adult services and health, in front of representatives from organisations such as Blackpool Council and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust, as well as carers and service user representatives.
The meeting focused on the emotional health and well-being of children and youngsters with agenda topics ranging from specific mental health services for young people to activities provided by Blackpool Boys and Girl Club.
Coun Amy Cross said: “I invited Laura to help lead the meeting as it is important that young people have the opportunity to get involved with discussions on issues that have an impact on their own lives or the lives of their peers.
“Their opinions are important and can play a vital role in shaping the decisions that are made to deliver the right support for young people dealing with mental health issues.
“Laura did a great job and I hope to involve more young people in the future.”