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Stephen Fry and Duke of Sussex support mental health conference

Stephen Fry and the Duke of Sussex were among the supporters of a mental health and wellbeing event aimed at young people held by UEA Health and Social Care Partners today in the Thomas Paine Study Centre (Friday 15 November).

Stephen Fry opened the UEA Health and Social Care Partners Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference with a welcome video while The Duke of Sussex sent a letter of support, which was read out at the conference.

Stephen Fry said via the welcome video: “We are familiar with just how deep and dark the epidemic of youth suicide, anxiety and self-harm has become.

“We know it is an urgent crisis and if the young are not diagnosed and understood and helped early then things can be very bleak indeed. This is why the work the UEA Health and Social Care Partners are doing is so important.”

The event was designed to support a total system redesign of provision to consider mental health requirements for 0-25 year-olds within Norfolk and Waveney.

Sir Norman Lamb introduced the event and was joined by other speakers including Emma Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of the charity Young Minds, Sara Tough, Executive Director of Children's Services, Norfolk County Council, with a closing speech by UEA Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson.

UEA Health and Social Care Partners (UEAHSCP) and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust brought together relevant stakeholders to raise the profile of the needs of this group of young people and to help identify solutions to challenges in meeting those needs.

There are a large number of dedicated professionals in the region working in mental health and wellbeing service redesign and the event provided further space for that work to be championed and encouraged.

Through an innovation expo with case studies of active workshops looking at ground-breaking projects, the event focused on the needs of young people in the region and looked at how services need to change.

Dr Jon Wilson, Consultant Psychiatrist and Research Director, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust also spoke at the conference and said: “There is an undeniable need for better support of the mental health needs of children and young people. 

“Through this event, UEA Health and Social Care Partners will bring together individuals from across all spheres to start a conversation about how to target this investment in order to address the needs of young people and their families in East Anglia, to share ideas and to generate concrete plans about next steps. I am thrilled to be a part of it and look forward to seeing where these conversation lead to.”

UEA Health and Social Care Partners is a 12-organisation collaboration working to increase research and innovation in health and social care across the region for the benefit of service users and health and care professionals. For more information, please visit www.ueahscp.com