Article 39 is a small, independent charity which fights for the rights of children who live in group-based settings like children’s homes, hospitals and prisons.

We want children and young people’s views and experiences to be understood, and for your voices to heard and respected.

We recently set up a new group to support children and young people to have your say on what should change to make mental health hospitals, and the laws that they follow, much better for children and young people.

**Members of the group have already had their say on government guidance for hospitals on reducing restraint. Some of their advice on how to avoid restraint will be published as part of the government’s guidance soon – brilliant!**

The group is working on 2 important things:

  • Designing a brand new training course for independent mental health advocates, to help them be even better at listening to children with mental health problems and protecting your rights.  
  • Looking at the law and other rules and how they could be changed and made better to make sure children and young people are listened to, cared for and treated well. 

We are inviting children and young people who are aged 25 or younger and who:

  • Have been in hospital as a child for mental health reasons,  
  • Are keen to join with others to protect the rights of children and young people in mental health hospitals, and 
  • Are able to meet with us every couple of months on Zoom (as a rough guide).

We are especially interested to hear from you if you are aged under 18!

You do not need to have done anything like this before. We are looking for children and young people who are keen to share their thoughts and ideas about mental health services, who want to learn new things and who want to be a part of changing things with others.

If you choose to join us, you can count on us to:

  • Respect you just as you are! Whether you are shy and quiet or bubbly and chatty – we will value and include you.
  • Support you to make sure that you feel safe and in control of what you do as part of this group.   
  • Not ask you anything personal and we will not expect you to take part in anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. 
  • Show appreciation for your time. You will receive an online gift voucher for every main session you’re part of, as a mark of thanks for your contribution. (If possible, we would ask you to commit to a few hours every two months for at least a year.)  

Please send an email to hassatou.conde@article39.org.uk with your name, age and a few sentences about why you would like to be part of our Expert Group on Mental Health. You can send this as a message, a voice recording or a video – whichever works best for you. 

If you are aged 15 or under, please provide an email address for a parent or carer so that we can check that it is OK that we have your personal contact details. 

If you have any questions or would like to chat about the group on the phone, please just let us know. 
 
THANK YOU for reading this and for considering whether to join our Expert Group on Mental Health.

Hassatou Condé is our contact for this group at the moment. She is a children’s rights campaigner and is passionate about promoting human rights and making sure that children and young people are always heard and respected.